Row over EVMs: Congress says use paper ballots in 30 per cent booths in each constituency

Party leaders told The Indian Express that introducing a 70:30 mix of EVMs and paper ballots in elections was practical.

Written by Manoj C G | New Delhi | Updated: August 11, 2018 4:32:41 am
BJP wins 13 out of 27 seats in Rajasthan local body by-elections 10 congress councillors had resigned from Congress to join BJP and help them win Wadhwan civic elections. (Express Photo by Vishal Srivastav)

Months after it asked the Election Commission to revert to the old practice of paper ballots in elections instead of using Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), the Congress is thinking about scaling down its demand. Sources said the party could ask the EC to use paper ballots in 30 per cent of the polling booths in each constituency.

Party leaders told The Indian Express that introducing a 70:30 mix of EVMs and paper ballots in elections was practical.

At the AICC plenary in March, the Congress had passed a resolution urging the poll panel to revert to the old practice of paper ballots instead of EVMs in future elections. It had argued that there were misgivings on misuse of EVMs to manipulate the outcome.

In April last year, a month after the BJP stormed to power in Uttar Pradesh, the Congress and 15 Opposition parties, including the SP and BSP and rivals Left and Trinamool Congress, had approached the poll panel with a demand that elections be held using ballot paper till the concerns over EVMs are addressed.

On Friday, party sources said its “last demand is that in at least 30 per cent of the polling booths in each constituency, paper ballots should be used”. “That way, you can cross-check the voting pattern in 70 per cent of the booths with the remaining 30 per cent,” a senior leader said, adding that this suggestion was “plan B” of the party since it has already demanded return to ballot papers.

The Election Commission has convened a meeting of all parties on August 27 where the EVM issue is likely to dominate. Although EVMs are not on the agenda, EC sources say the poll panel is prepared to allay any concerns.

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