AAP members outside a polling booth at Jusco School, Bistupur, on Wednesday. Picture by Animesh Sengupta
AAP candidate from Jamshedpur Lok Sabha seat Kumar Chandra Mardi will have a tough time managing booths when the constituency goes to polls on Thursday.
So far, Mardi has managed to roll in only 750 booth agents to man the 1,628 polling centres spread across the six Assembly segments of Jamshedpur East, Jamshedpur West, Potka, Bahragora, Ghatshila and Jugsalai.
The 61-year-old, who largely relied on his sympathisers for running his poll campaign, had requested commoners to become booth agents for the party.
The responsibility of a booth agent includes manning party desks at polling centres and keeping an eye on the voting process to ensure there is no foul play.
Mardi, who took part in a door-to-door canvassing exercise in Potka, Bahragora and Musabani on Wednesday, said he was grateful to residents who had responded to his plea.
“I thank the people of this city for coming forward to help me. I am still short of the required numbers, but there is no way out. I have to fight the elections by whatever means I have at my disposal,” he said.
The party’s poll co-ordinator Prem Kumar added they had issued certificates to the booth agents, who will show them to presiding officers deputed at the booths.
“We will deploy our booth agents at Jamshedpur East, West and Jugsalai Assembly segments. Mardiji’s relatives and friends will man the polling booths in rural areas falling under the constituency,” he said.
With time running out, AAP is still trying in vain to convince residents to join as booth agents. “Nobody is coming forward, but we are still trying for the required numbers,” said party’s media spokesperson Sumant Choudhury.
Regarding the people who had already joined, he said: “People came to our Khasmahal office to submit two passport size photographs and a photocopy of the voter ID. We are not paying them a single paisa. They have volunteered to help us out.”
Resources apart, the AAP campaign in Jamshedpur was also sans star power. However, the party’s Jharkhand in-charge Ajit Jha and convenor of the Lok Sabha campaign in the state Vishwanath Bagi sought votes for Mardi during a road show on Monday.
“We are getting good response in the hinterland. Our candidate has slogged hard to convince voters. We know we lack adequate resources, but are making it up with enthusiasm. We are going all out,” Kumar said.