Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav today once again raked up the issue of use of EVMs in elections, raising questions on “maintenance and calibration” of the machines in Gorakhpur, where Lok Sabha bypolls are due. Earlier this month, the former chief minister in a meeting with senior party leaders as well as representatives from the NCP, CPI, CPI (M), Apna Dal (Krishna Patel faction), Peace Party, AAP, RLD and RJD had discussed the issue. “The maintenance and calibration of EVMs is going on when the Gorakhpur administration is busy in the Gorakhpur Mahotsav. What combination is this? For which ‘utsav’ are they (BJP) preparing,” he said. The Gorakhpur Mahotsav, in Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s home turf, had started on January 11 and will end today. “What do you rectify in the machine (EVM)? The government cannot be trusted,” said Yadav, who is demanding the Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha byelections be held through ballot paper. In the meeting, all the parties, barring the CPI(M), were of the view that all future elections should be held through the ballot papers.
They had agreed that there were flaws in the conduct of elections through EVMs and that VVPATs were also not being used. The SP president had initiated efforts to mobilise opinion among different political parties for holding polls using ballot paper instead of EVMs and had invited their leaders.