The Election Commission has received complaints from opposition political parties of West Bengal about the absence of Booth Level Officers (BLOs) in almost 30 per cent of the 78,903 booths in the state, though their presence was made mandatory by the EC, a senior official said on Friday. The allegations were discussed at a meeting EC officials had with district magistrates for reviewing preparatory activities in connection with the Assembly elections due next year and the ongoing special summary revision of photo electoral rolls.
"We had a detailed meeting with the DMs who were instructed to appoint government employees and not contractual or Asha workers for the work at the booths. We want foolproof work," an EC official said when contacted. There were allegations that Accredited Social Health Activist (Asha) workers and contractual staff of the government were engaged as BLOs in a number of booths.
Discussions were also held on different other aspects related to the conduct of elections, including a hands-on orientation of Electronic Voting Machines and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trails (VVPAT) to the district election officers, he added. Election to the 294-member West Bengal Assembly is due in April-May, 2021.