EC’s fresh directive on rigging

Amid allegations of rigging in the Lok Sabha elections, the Election Commission today issued a fresh directive asking State poll authorities to immediately probe complaints made by polling agents of candidates.
The poll panel also said telephone numbers of important officials should be displayed prominently at the polling stations so that they can be contacted easily by a polling agents in case of a complaint.
The directive was issued to the Chief Electoral Officers of Bihar, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Uttarakhand where elections will be held in the last two phases on May 7 and 12.
The directive States that all polling stations will have to maintain a ‘polling agent/relieving agent movement sheet’ in which every polling agent will be required to sign indicating the time at which he came to the polling station and left it.
“The observer, sector magistrate, senior officers who visit the polling station during the course of poll shall also ensure that the aforesaid sheet is being properly maintained,” it said.
Any complaint received from the polling agents at any level shall be inquired immediately, it said.
“The ROs or observers shall also scrutinise the documents related to such polling stations carefully and record their views specifically,” according to it.
The latest directive of the EC comes against the backdrop of allegations of rigging in various parts of the country and complaints that State poll authorities failed to take action.
Various political parties have approached the Commission against ruling parties in States alleging largescale rigging.
Polling agents are representatives of candidates appointed by political parties during the course of the polls. (PTI)