Raj Thackeray wants EVMs junked, asks EC to conduct Maharashtra polls using ballot papers

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Published: July 8, 2019 5:42:18 PM

Ahead of the parliamentary elections, all major political parties, except the BJP and constituents of the NDA government, raised doubts over the functioning of voting machines.

Raj Thackeray has reportedly written to the EC raising doubts over the current election process and asked the commission to restore faith in the election process by returning to ballot papers. (PTI)

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray is the latest entrant to a grouping of political parties that has expressed distrust in Electronic Voting Machines and sought conduct of elections through ballot papers in all the future elections. Thackeray has reportedly written to the Election Commission raising doubts over the current election process and asked the commission to restore faith in the election process by returning to ballot papers.

“Individuals have communicated their dissatisfaction with the manner in which elections are being conducted in the last few years and raised questions regarding EVMs. We request you to get back to ballot papers and appeal to have assembly election in Maharashtra with ballot papers only,” news agency ANI quoted Thackeray as saying. The assembly elections in Maharashtra are due later this year.

The Opposition has often questioned the role of the commission and has even accused it of favouring the ruling party. Ahead of the parliamentary elections, all major political parties, except the BJP and constituents of the NDA government, raised doubts over the functioning of voting machines. To ensure transparency in the electoral process, the opposition demanded that all future polls be held through ballot papers.

However, CEC Sunil Arora rejected the demand saying going back to paper ballots was not an option. Following this, the opposition raised another demand that the number of VVPAT slips be increased from 1 machine per constituency to 50%. However, this demand too was rejected by the Commission.

The opposition then moved the Supreme Court which ordered the EC to increase the number from one to 5 VVPATs per constituency. VVPAT machines generate a paper slip after a vote has been cast. The voter can see whether the vote went to the person or candidate it voted for. After announcing the results of recently concluded Lok Sabha polls, the Election Commission informed that it did not find any mismatch of votes during the counting of the votes.

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