Lok Sabha Election 2019: Stacked against EVMs, TMC, 16 other parties petition EC for return to ballots

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New Delhi | Published: August 3, 2018 2:13:18 PM

Seventeen opposition parties including Trinamool Congress are planning to approach the Election Commission demanding that ballot papers should be used to conduct the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

lok sabha election 2019, trinamool congress, evm, mamata banerjee, election commission, ballot paper, congress, opposition, Bahujan Samaj Party, National Congress Party, Aam Aadmi PartyMamata Banerjee was heard telling opposition party leaders, including from the Congress that all opposition parties should go to EC on this matter. She added that there should be a joint delegation of opposition parties to EC.

Seventeen opposition parties including Trinamool Congress are planning to approach the Election Commission demanding that ballot papers should be used to conduct the 2019 Lok Sabha election. The 17 parties would meet next week to discuss the plan. TMC leader Derek O’Brien was quoted as saying that all opposition parties have agreed on this matter, and are planning to meet next week. He added that all the parties plan to visit the Election Commission and demand that the EC conduct the coming Lok Sabha elections using ballot papers.

The initiative to solicit the support of all opposition parties on the matter was taken by TMC chief Mamata Banerjee yesterday, when she visited Parliament to meet opposition leaders and invited them for her planned rally in Kolkata on January 19. Banerjee was heard appealing to opposition party leaders who visited her in the TMC office in Parliament, to send a joint delegation to the Election Commission over reports of EVM tampering and to demand that the 2019 general election be held on ballots.

As per Times Now report, along with Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress, Rahul Gandhi-led Congress, Samajwadi Party, Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), National Congress Party (NCP), Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have joined the united opposition to demand for a ballot paper voting in the upcoming crucial elections.

From southern region, YSR Congress, MK Stalin-led Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), HD Kumaraswamy-led JD(S), Andhra Pradesh’s Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and Left parties like Communist Party of India (CPI) and CPI-M will be joining the Opposition to the Election Commission. Jailed Lalu Prasad Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) will also be on the side of a united opposition.

Mamata Banerjee was heard telling opposition party leaders, including from the Congress that all opposition parties should go to EC on this matter. She added that there should be a joint delegation of opposition parties to EC.

With the number of cases of EVM tampering emerging in recent times, the TMC had staged protests outside Parliament and demanded that ballot papers be brought back for the 2019 Lok Sabha election. The ruling party in West Bengal said it is a “common programme” that will unite all opposition parties.

Interestingly, Banerjee had also urged the Shiv Sena, a BJP ally, to be a part of the delegation. Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray previously demanded that the 2019 Lok Sabha election be conducted using ballot papers instead of EVMs.

In July, the Congress had also demanded the restoration of the old system of conducting elections through ballot papers to replace the electronic voting machines. The leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said opposition parties were in agreement that EVMs should be removed and the older system should be brought back so that all parties have “faith in the election system”.

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