Pune: Shortage of Manpower Raises Concerns Over Transparency in Electoral Process

Pune: With the Lok Sabha elections looming, both political parties and administrative bodies are racing against time to prepare for the upcoming polls. However, amidst the flurry of preparations, concerns have surfaced regarding the transparency of the electoral process, particularly in light of the shortage of manpower within the administrative system.

The Election Department has tasked Booth Level Officers (BLOs) with conducting a special re-verification campaign of the Photo Electoral Roll at the polling station level. Traditionally, this responsibility falls upon government employees and teachers holding positions as clerks and above, primarily from the Municipal Corporation and Education Board in Pune.

However, recent revelations have shed light on a troubling trend in some assembly constituencies, where election officials have resorted to appointing peons and subordinate employees as BLOs without considering their rank or educational qualifications. Given the relaxed educational requirements for positions such as peons, individuals ranging from fifth-grade pass to tenth-grade fail are occupying these roles.

The duties assigned to BLOs entail reaching out to approximately one thousand to twelve hundred voters in their respective polling stations, verifying their details both on the computer and in the field. Meanwhile, within the Pune Municipal Corporation, there is growing discontent among clerical staff who feel overlooked for BLO appointments.

This disparity in BLO appointments raises valid questions about the efficacy and fairness of the electoral process. As individuals with limited education and experience are entrusted with crucial responsibilities, concerns mount regarding their ability to accurately execute their duties and uphold the integrity of the electoral process.

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