As part of efforts to ensure violence-free elections in the five poll-bound states, the Election Commission has directed that no central or state minister or MP or MLA should be appointed as Election Agents.
This is intended to avoid tension caused by public figures who are accompanied by armed escorts at polling stations.
No person, other than the Returning Officer, the Presiding Officer, police officer and any person appointed to maintain peace and order, can go with arms within the vicinity of a polling station.
"A tendency has been observed on the part of some candidates to appoint a sitting minister, MP, MLA or MLC as their Election Agent or Counting Agents. These persons generally have security cover provided to them by the state," the EC said in a letter to Chief Electoral Officers of all the states.
The EC said movement of persons carrying arms in the constituency and particularly in the vicinity of the polling station on the date of poll will not only "intimidate and overawe" the electors, polling staff and the public but can also lead to violence by misuse or accidental use of such fire arms disturbing seriously the conduct of peaceful poll.
"The aspect that a recipient of such security cannot be allowed to deliberately jeopardize his own security which has been provided to him by the state on the basis of threat perception to him" should be kept in mind by the poll officials, the EC said.