Agartala: CPI(M) State Secretary Jitendra Chowdhury has wrote to Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Kiran Gitte requesting him to discard the idea of the formation of Booth Awareness Groups (BAG) in each booth, which he feels to be an attempt to help BJP cadres to gang up.
The letter expressed serious concern over the proposal of BAG and said that to help the election machinery in poll management Booth Level Officers (BLO) and Booth Level Agents (BLA) in a booth are sufficient.
He said, “I am sorry to say, never this was discussed in any all-party meeting held so far. However, we are placing our strong objection to the formation of such a BAG.”
He said that there is already an awareness group working in each of the polling booths comprising concerned BLO and BLAs of political parties. Then why does it necessitate being with the members of various social groups? The BLOs are directed to select names from various social groups namely, youths, social workers, educationists, NSS activists, and NGOs to include in the BAG.
Chowdhury further claimed that their experience is that, most of the BLOs are working under duress due to constant threats from the ruling party activists to get illegal and unethical tasks done by them. Besides, some BLOs are very much obliged to the ruling party leaders.
“In such a condition, can you expect, the BLOs will pick up the persons from social groups with integrity and neutrality in each of the polling booths? We believe, practically it will be nothing but a booth committee sponsored by the ruling party having the seal of the Election Commission.
What is the objective of the formation of such a BAG, what kinds of tasks will the BAG perform, the jurisdiction of their task, nothing has been defined, Chowdhury questioned adding while the electors of the state are sharply polarized among the 2/3 political platforms, it is impractical to pick up so many apolitical individuals to form BAG in each of the 3328 polling booths.
While demanding the CEO to discard the idea of the formation of BAG in each booth and said, “So far ‘awareness’ of the electors are concerned, I think, the body comprising BLO and BLAs in a booth sufficient and widening this body with the representatives of various social groups would only create controversy”.