The DMK has requested the Election Commission to permit appointment of agents for counting VVPAT slips at polling booths in the 38 Lok Sabha constituencies and 22 assembly constituencies of Tamil Nadu.
On Tuesday (May 21), DMK organising secretary RS Bharathi met Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Satyabrata Sahoo and filed a petition requesting to appoint VVPAT counting agents for each candidate.
According to EC’s handbook for counting agents, every candidate is entitled to appoint one agent to be by the returning officer’s table, one agent for each table and one more for postal ballot counting.
The handbook, however, does not mention anything about the appointment of counting agents for monitoring the mandatory verification of VVPAT paper slips for five polling booths of each assembly segment of all parliamentary constituencies.
“Unless, permission is granted to appoint separate counting agents for counting of VVPAT paper trails, there would not be any transparency and credibility in the counting of VVPAT paper slips,” the DMK said in their petition to the CEO.
Therefore, the DMK requested the CEO to give necessary instructions to the returning officers of the parliamentary and assembly constituencies to permit appointment of counting agents.
The party also requested the CEO to direct presiding officers to obtain signature from the counting agents on part II of form 17C and other annexes.