‘Ministers, MPs and MLAs cannot be poll agents’

The Election Commission on Tuesday prohibited ministers, MPs and MLAs from becoming election agents of candidates as their securitymen can upset level playing field for others in the fray.

The EC also said mayors, chairpersons of municipalities and zila parishads and panchayat unions are also prohibited from becoming election, polling or counting agents as they can have an influence on a large number of employees of local authorities who are deployed on election duty. This, the poll body said, will be ‘improper’ and ‘contrary to the spirit of level playing field.’

The EC’s directive came after the Puducherry chief electoral officer sought to know whether a Rajya Sabha member or an MLA without security cover can become an election agent.

The EC said ministers in the Union government or the state government, sitting MPs or MLAs cannot be election agents because they have a security cover which can deprive other candidates of an equal footing in the electoral battle. It said no such person can surrender his or her security cover to become an election agent ‘keeping in view that any untoward incident involving them may have serious  repercussions in the conduct of free, fair and peaceful election’.
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