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TMC seeks clarity over EC's 'time frame' for replacing +ve counting agents

KOLKATA: Pointing out contradictions in the Election Commission's guidelines regarding counting adhering to Covid norms, Trinamool Congress has sought clarification from the poll panel on the procedure and time frame for replacement of counting agents. The Commission has mandated that candidates of the political parties will have to submit a list of counting agents by 5 pm on Thursday and there is a provision for replacement in case such counting agents test positive.

The TMC has also raised questions over the submission of negative test reports of COVID-19 of counting agents or candidates while entering the counting hall. "The time mandated for providing such a negative report has been stated as 'within 48 hours of start of counting which effectively means by 4 May 2021, Please clarify your intentions'," the letter written by TMC Rajya Sabha MP Derek O'Brien seeking clarifications on such guidelines. A senior official of the state CEO office said political parties should submit names of more counting agents than they usually furnish. In case one or two of them test positive, then replacement can be done easily. "The district electoral officers have been given the responsibility to ensure that candidates or counting agents who ever enter the counting venue will either have to present negative RT-PCR or rapid test COVID report or would have had to be vaccinated twice," the official added.

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