Andhra Pradesh

Naidu cancels review meetings on poll trends

N. Chandrababu Naidu

N. Chandrababu Naidu  

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Series of training sessions planned for counting agents and contestants

Chief Minister and TDP national president N. Chandrababu Naidu has decided to cancel review meetings on the party’s performance in the general elections and instead organise training sessions for counting agents.

The sessions would be conducted Lok Sabha constituency-wise in the State, and the idea is to complete the entire process before May 19 by taking up at least two Assembly segments in each LS constituency.

The contestants would also take part in the training sessions.

Party sources say that there are several factors behind “the sudden change in plans.” As per Election Commission of India (ECI) rules, the contestants would have to appoint agents who are experienced in the counting process by May 19. Mr. Naidu is also emphasising that on May 23, the day of counting, the agents should not leave until the results were declared.

Legal aspects

A part of the training session would be devoted to these aspects. The party also plans to impart a quick training to the agents in legal aspects. The idea is to ensure that the agents are in a position to quote the rules and raise objections if there were any discrepancies in the counting process, sources say.

Also, the party is sceptical of the efficacy of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). Many changes and amendments were made to the Returning Officer (RO) or agents handbook. For instance, the handbook says that it was enough if one VVPAT was counted in each Assembly segment. But after the Supreme Court judgment, the ECI has to count 5 VVPATs from each Assembly segment.

The party feels that the agents, chief agents and contestants should have a “fair knowledge” of these developments. Mr. Naidu is of the view that at least one advocate should be among the counting agents selected for each constituency. Subsequently, advocates are being appointed as chief agents. Hence, the focus is on training sessions, sources say.

Another reason being cited for change in plans is that Mr. Naidu would be “busy in national politics.” He would be calling on national leaders before May 21.

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Printable version | May 22, 2019 5:21:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/naidu-cancels-review-meetings-on-poll-trends/article27142834.ece

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