Congress contestants who fought the recent Gujarat polls may move the high court against the Election Commission over the functioning of the EVMs during the election process, a senior party leader said today on the concluding day of the party's introspection meet in Mehsana.
Congress contestants who fought the recent Gujarat polls may move the high court against the Election Commission over the functioning of the EVMs during the election process, a senior party leader said today on the concluding day of the party’s introspection meet in Mehsana. On the second and concluding day of the ‘chintan shivir’, party leaders expressed doubts over the functioning of the Electronic Voting Machines and claimed the party’s performance would have been better had ballot papers been used in the polls. “Defeated candidates raised doubts over EVMs and said the party could have won more seats had ballot papers been used in polls,” Gujarat Congress unit chief Bharatsinh Solanki told reporters. The meet, aimed at analysing the electoral outcome and discuss the roadmap in view of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, began yesterday.
The party’s new president Rahul Gandhi will interact with the newly-elected MLAs as well as leaders from state’s four zones – north, south, central Gujarat, and Saurashtra – separately for four hours in Ahmedabad on Saturday, before addressing a gathering of party workers in the evening. “Many candidates said the party suffered due to EVMs. We have discussed the matter with technical experts. We are seeking a legal opinion on this,” Solanki said. He said the candidates who have raised doubts over the functioning of the EVMs may file a petition in the high court, challenging the EC. Solanki said the conclave also discussed the “misuse” of the government machinery by the ruling party during polls.
On Tuesday, a day after the Gujarat election results were declared, a senior official of the election machinery had said there was a “100 per cent match” in a random vote count on EVMs and paper trail slips carried out by the Election Commission in the 182 polling stations in the state. Gujarat Chief Electoral Officer B B Swain had said that the vote count through the EVMs matched with the VVPAT in all the constituencies where the paper trail slips were counted.
In the elections, the Congress could not wrest power from the BJP even though its tally increased to 77 seats from 61 last time. Congress ally Bharatiya Tribal Party won two seats, and along with an independent backed by it winning his seat, the tally of the Congress-led alliance stood at 80, 12 short of the simple majority in the 182-member Assembly. The BJP retained power for the sixth time, though with a reduced score of 99 seats against 115 in 2012. The Congress performed well in rural areas of Gujarat but failed to make a significant mark in the urban pockets.
According to Solanki, it was for the first time that the Congress held an introspection meet immediately after an election. “The aim of the meeting was to ensure that the connection with the public remains intact and any issues with the party are addressed,” the senior leader said. During the conclave, Congress workers from 33 districts in Gujarat discussed the poll results with senior leadership. They also raised issues like allotting tickets to “outsiders” and use of “money power” by the BJP government.