Senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia has welcomed the Centre’s decision to do away with the red beacon lights on vehicles. “It is a good decision and I welcome it. In fact when I was the Union Minister (from 2007-2014), I never used red beacon on my vehicle. I am against it,” Scindia told PTI here yesterday. “I believe that as a people’s servant, our place should remain in their (people’s) hearts but this red beacon has created a distance between the people and the leaders. Therefore, it is better to do away with it (red beacons),” he said. The Union Cabinet on Wednesday decided that the beacon lights will be removed from all vehicles, except the emergency vehicles like ambulances and fire brigade, from May 1. The vehicles with beacon lights, which are seen as a symbol of VIP culture, “have no place in a democratic country,” the government said.
On the Ater Assembly segment getting embroiled in an EVM row and Congress’s demand for a return to the paper ballot for all elections, Scindia said, “We raised the issue to ensure that no scope of any question mark should remain in a democratic electoral process.” “I cannot comment on other states but as far as Ater is concerned, the Election Commission took all possible measures to ensure free and fair elections,” he said. The row began with the trial of an EVM at Ater, when some reports suggested that voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) machine dispensed only BJP slips, no matter which button on it was pressed. However, MP’s Chief Electoral Officer denied this. VVPAT is a machine which dispenses a slip with the symbol of the party for which a person has voted for. The slip drops in a box but the voter cannot take it home.
Following the controversy, the Congress and other opposition parties had demanded scrapping of the use of EVMs for elections. “The system that EC followed in Ater bypoll should be replicated in all elections for conducting polls in a free and fair manner. The immediate steps taken by the EC were very effective and I thanked the poll body for it,” Scindia said. The Congress won the Ater Assembly seat bypoll held earlier this month.