March 28, 2021 3:42:37 am
The Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Saturday shared an audio clip of a purported conversation between BJP leaders Mukul Roy and Shishir Bajoria in which Roy is heard asking Bajoria to urge the Election Commission (EC) to change the rule on appointing polling agents as the party does not have enough agents in the state. Sources said the EC relaxed the rule last week.
TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh shared the clip at a press conference in Kolkata, and accused the BJP of intimidating the EC to suit its interests. The ruling party claimed that the tape revealed “a clear nexus between the BJP and the EC to influence the election”.
Mukul Roy refuted the allegation and said the audio clip was fake. “This is fake. They are making everything up,” he added. The Sunday Express could not independently verify the authenticity of the audio clip.
In the clip, the person purported to be Roy is heard saying, “Khali amar hoe tumi duto point kore dao. Ek nombor hochhe Banglay amra chaibo je agent hoar jonno kono neerdishto niyom neeti rakhle hobe na. Je parbe, je kono booth e shey agent hote parbe. Je Paschim Banglar nagorik o voter. Ta nahole ki hobe amader toh certain percentage of booth ache je booth e jetei parbe na lok. Bujhtei parcho ami ki bolte chaichi. [Please mention two points on my behalf. First, we have to ensure that there should not be any particular rule regarding polling agents. Anyone who can, should be able to become poll agents. That person has to be a voter and citizen of West Bengal. Otherwise, there is a certain percentage of booths where we will not be able to field polling agents. You do understand what I am saying].”
When the other person, who the TMC claims is Bajoria, answers in the affirmative, the caller goes on to repeat the demand that any voter from West Bengal should be allowed to be a polling agent, and adds, “Eta administrative order e hoy. Er jonno kono likhito porito aain nei. Sutorang, amader ke eta bolte hobe and mukhe explain korte hobe keno eta chaichi. Eta kore nao. [This can only happen after an administrative order. There is no written rule regarding this. Therefore, we have to raise this issue and explain why we want this. Ensure this].”
Earlier on Saturday, a TMC delegation led by MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay urged State Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Aariz Aftab to withdraw the new rule. The party asked the CEO to revert to the earlier practice of appointing agents from the electorate in the area where a booth is located or an adjoining booth.
An EC officer in Delhi said, “Political parties make a lot of suggestions to the Commission, each of which is examined and then either accepted or rejected. The decision to permit candidates to appoint polling agents from the same constituency instead of the same polling station or adjoining polling station applies to everyone across parties. So how will this end up benefitting one party? A polling agent is expected to be a confidante of the candidate. If he or she is allowed to appoint one from a seat as opposed to two specific polling stations, how does that disturb the level playing field?”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.