KOLKATA: West Bengal Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Thursday urged the Election Commission to depute central force personnel for accompanying polling officials to the house of elderly or differently-abled people to get their votes, to prevent possible attempts by the “ruling party” to manipulate voting.
The Election Commission has made provisions for voting through postal ballot for citizens above 80 years of age and persons with disability from the comfort of their homes.
In a letter to Sudeep Jain, the deputy election commissioner in charge of the state, Chowdhury, also the leader of the Congress party in the Lok Sabha, said that the decision of the poll panel to depute an unarmed civic volunteer should be changed.
“The Election Commission has decided to allow the disabled persons and old aged infirm persons to cast votes from their houses instead of attending the election booth. It is learnt that it has been decided to escort the officer by civic volunteers having no arms while going to receive the casting of votes from respective houses of disabled persons.
“Serious apprehension raised in my mind that there will be manipulation in casting of votes by disabled persons. Ruling party members will dominate the will of the disabled voters and will cast vote in favour of ruling party candidates frustrating the wise desire of Election Commission,” the letter read.
To ensure fair polling, two or more central force personnel should accompany officials going to houses of infirm people to get their votes, Chowdhury said.
In the assembly election in the state, the BJP is trying to dethrone the Trinamool Congress while the Mamata Banerjee-led party is seeking to return to power for the third time in a row. Three of the eight phases of polling have been completed in the state.