Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Tuesday wrote to the State Election Commission to conduct MCD polls using paper ballot instead of electronic voting machines (EVMs). Pradesh Congress Committee president Ajay Maken was the first one to raise the demand and wrote to the CM on Tuesday stating that “serious doubts have cropped up in the minds of the voters as to the free and fair nature of the electoral process”. The CM then wrote to the commission.
Watch Video |Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal Alleges EVM Foul Play, Says Need To Relook Use In Polls
“There are serious allegations of EVM manipulation in recently concluded Assembly elections in five states. In the last two days, leaders of many political parties have approached me and demanded that polls be conducted through ballot paper as they don’t have faith in EVMs,” Kejriwal wrote.“Since the time left is very little, chief secretary should prepare a proposal to make necessary arrangements to the rules and ensure that proposal reaches the L-G this evening through proper channels. If it needs cabinet approval, the same may be convened today,” Kejriwal wrote.
Emphasising that even the Supreme Court of India had in January 2017 reiterated the need of a Vote Verifier Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) in EVMs to maintain 100 per cent transparency, Maken said, “As a premier Opposition party, the Congress is duty-bound to seek remedial measures to remove these doubts and ensure that the sanctity of the electoral process is fully ensured, particularly from the public perspective.” BSP chief Mayawati recently alleged that EVMs had been tampered with in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls — a charge rejected by the Election Commission.
Watch Video: Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal Writes To EC Saying EVMs Should Not Be Used in MCD Polls
Delhi BJP leaders, meanwhile, hit back at Kejriwal for his suggestion. Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari said the CM’s demand was “ridiculous”. “If Kejriwal and Maken do not trust EVMs, Kejriwal should go for a re-poll in the Delhi Assembly and Maken should ask the Congress leadership to call for a re-election in Punjab through ballot papers,” said Tiwari. He added, “Asking the state election commissioner that the upcoming civic elections be conducted through ballot papers in place of EVMs shows that they are apprehensive of losing. It is surprising that the Congress party, which has won and lost many elections in the country and in Delhi, today doubts the credibility of EVMs,” said Tiwari, adding that it betrays Maken’s “frustration”.
State Election Commissioner SK Srivastava, meanwhile, said that while he had received Kejriwal’s letter, it was up to the L-G and the Delhi government to take the decision. “I have informed them that rules for conducting these elections will have to be changed if ballot is to be re-introduced. The government and L-G can take this decision. However, I have informed them that we have done our preparation on EVMs and we have very little time before the election to make changes to the process,” he said. Stating that ballot boxes are not produced anymore, he said that finding boxes will be a bigger concern than printing the ballot papers.