Opposition asks revert to ballot papers

Expressing doubts over reliability of electronic voting machines (EVMs), the opposition led by TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu, today, demanded a return to ballot papers. As many as 21 political parties gathered today at the Constitution Club of India in the national capital to demand that 50 per cent EVMs be verified against paper trails.

Naidu said very few countries have opted for EVMs and even advanced countries like Germany and the Netherlands have opted for ballot papers. “Paper trail is indispensable for EVMs. The confidence of the voter can only be restored through paper trail machines,” he said.

“The elections in Andhra Pradesh is over and now I am fighting for the country, for transparency in elections. Why so much money is being wasted on VVPATs when they are not being counted,” he added.

He alleged that the Election Commission has given a wrong affidavit in the Supreme Court saying that the counting process will take 6 days if 50 per cent VVPATs trails are to be verifie.  How is this possible? Previously when paper ballots were counted it used to take a time of maximum 24 hours. Why has the EC lied in the court, he asked.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Congress leaders Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Singhvi were among those who attended the opposition meet in New Delhi. After reports of malfunctioning of EVMs on Thursday during Andhra Pradesh assembly polls, Naidu said he may move the Supreme Court seeking direction to the Election Commisison to tally slips from at least 25 per cent VVPAT machines with EVMs in each assembly constituency.

Naidu had met Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora, yesterday and complained that the poll body “miserably failed to live up to the spirit of the constitutional duty” in the state. He demanded that the Election Commission should revert to the system of recording votes through ballot papers and stop the use of electronic voting machines in polls.

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