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Posted at: May 19, 2019, 7:12 AM; last updated: May 19, 2019, 7:12 AM (IST)

Why staff mostly hate poll duty

Manmeet Singh Gill

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 18

Before every election, most of the government employees, who are assigned poll duties, do everything they can with all their might to get exemption from poll duties.

Talking to this correspondent, employees, who were at the election office to collect polling material, said the major issue was spending “dreadful” night at polling stations in government schools. “At these schools, basic facilities required for the night stay are absent. Male employees are able to manage somehow, but women are the worst affected,” says Kuljinder Singh, a government employee.

Staff members also revealed that during panchayat and Assembly elections, residents of villages in which the polling stations are set up, along with supporters of different parties, try to impress the polling staff by sending food and bedding. “In panchayat elections, every contesting candidate sends food and bedding and often enquires for our well being. But during Lok Sabha polls, all such things are missing and the polling staff have to make their own arrangements,” said another employee, seeking anonymity.

As a large number of employees gave requests for exemption from poll duty on medical grounds this time too, the district election office asked them to get a medical certificate from the civil surgeon’s office.

Another man said that poll officials often get late after depositing electronic voting machines (EVMs), so it is not possible for them to reach their home in late night hours. This is another reason behind employees seeking exemption.

Employees said proper arrangements for night stay and food should be made by the administration so that at least they can sleep peacefully. They said that the government provided funds for meals and other expenses, but there should be a check on those responsible for making arrangements.

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