Free Press Journal

EC’s curbs on candidates in vote counting centres


New Delhi: A candidate with more than one securityman in toe cannot enter the vote counting centre on May 16, the day Lok Sabha elections will be declared.

But a candidate enjoying SPG cover can enter the counting centre with just one securityman who is free to carry a concealed weapon.

Flooded with queries from returning officers and chief electoral officers, the Election Commission today said candidates with security will have to declare that they are giving up their protection voluntarily before they are allowed inside the counting centres.

But those under the SPG cover will be allowed to enter the centre with one securityman in “plain clothes” who can carry “one concealed arm”, the EC said.

The poll body has also clarified that any incumbent minister, minister in the state government, any sitting MP or MLA, chairperson of urban local bodies, elected chairpersons of national, state and district co-operative institutions, could not be appointed as counting agents.

It said even if a person with security volunteers to give up his or her security cover cannot be made a counting agent.

The communique clarified there was no restriction that only local persons would be permitted to be counting agents and the candidates were free to nominate anyone above 18 years of age for the task.