The Election Commission has clarified that apart from Central as well as state ministers, members of Parliament, MLAs, Mayors of municipal corporations, chairpersons/presidents of Nagar Palikas, Zila Parishad, Panchayat, Union etc also cannot be appointed as counting agents whether they are given security cover or not.
Objective of the Commission is to ensure free, fair and peaceful electoral process and save it from undue influences.
The Commission has given this directive in response to the clarification sought by Puducherry's Chief Electoral Officer from the Commission as to whether any MLA or Rajya Sabha member without security cover can be appointed as election agent, polling agent or counting agent.
According to an earlier decision of the Commission, any person including Central or state ministers having armed security cover will not be able to become a counting agent in the elections since this may lead to some unwanted incident resulting in seriously influencing electoral process.
MPs, MLAs and other public representatives cannot be appointed agent due to the reasons that Commission desires to provide equal opportunities to all the candidates in the elections.
In its later directives, the Commission had also directed not to appoint Mayors of municipal corporations, chairpersons/presidents of Nagar Palikas, Zila Parishad, Panchayat, union etc as agents.
The reason behind this directive is that large number of employees connected with their institutions are deployed in election duty and they might get influenced.