TMC opposes postal ballots for voters above 65 years of age

Shubhadeep Choudhury

Tribune News Service

Kolkata, July 7

Trinamool Congress (TMC), the ruling social gathering in West Bengal led by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, has opposed the step making it obligatory for individuals above the age of 65 years to vote solely by means of postal ballots and never by going to cubicles like others under that age group.

In a letter to Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora, TMC General Secretary Subrata Bakshi, MP, mentioned that whereas the amendments within the Conduct of Election Rules (made public on July 2) had been carried out saying these safeguard aged voters from the specter of contracting COVID-19, in actuality, the change would improve that threat.

An aged voter would expose herself a number of occasions to solid vote by means of postal poll. The voter must seem earlier than a Justice of the Peace on the time of recording the vote after which topic herself to publicity once more on the time of notarisation and affirmation after which exit as soon as once more to submit the poll.

The TMC chief said that the modification would additionally improve the potential for a voter’s electoral desire getting revealed to others. This will make the voter nervous. Bakshi wrote that the postal poll system might turn into extremely prone to the coercive affect of nefarious parts, ruling social gathering brokers, authorities officers and will degenerate into large-scale rigging.

“The amendment directly interferes with the conduct of free and fair elections, which is the bedrock of our democracy and has been enshrined as a basic feature of our constitution”, the letter said.

The TMC MP added that the modification stipulated that officers have to be bodily current and attend every of the electors above 65 years whereas they solid their votes. This would improve bills incurred by the general public exchequer. According to Bakshi, the system of voting by means of postal ballots would additionally impose an additional price on particular person voters and discourage them from exercising the correct to vote.

The TMC chief wrote that about six per cent of the inhabitants of our nation have been aged above 65 years and their efficient exclusion from the citizens would have a big impact. The letter additionally famous that the modification was everlasting in nature fairly than a brief association made to take care of the scenario arising out of the pandemic.

Bakshi additionally identified that whereas Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself was above 65 years of age, Chief Ministers of at the least 13 states have been greater than 65-year-old. It can be fairly ridiculous to counsel that an individual above 65 years might contest in elections, perform campaigning however solid the vote by means of postal poll, said the letter by the TMC chief.

While urging the EC to revoke the modification, TMC mentioned that in future EC ought to intervene and bar the Centre from usurping the ECI’s powers. “As public representatives, we are afraid that such amendments will pose a distinct threat to our democratic way of life,” the letter said.

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