The Chief Election Commission (CEC) on Sunday sought to downplay the allegations of a number of opposition parties alleging that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had won 14 of the 16 mayoral seats because of EVM tampering in the Uttar Pradesh civic polls. Speaking to reporters CEC AK Joti said that the local bodies elections are under the jurisdiction of state election commissions and the country’s premiere election body has no role in it. “Local body election is under the jurisdiction of state election commissions & CEC plays no role in that. We lend them M1 EVMs if they ask for it. We never lend M2 EVMs, currently used by CEC. M1 EVMs have not been used by CEC since 2006”, he said.
Joti added that if any candidate thinks EVMs have been tampered with, the person can complain to the returning officer. “If a candidate thinks the EVM malfunctioned, he can complain about it to the Returning Officer. The RO can refer to the slip by VVPAT Machines”.
Talking about the upcoming Gujarat polls, the CEC also said, “VVPAT machines will be used along with EVMs in all 50,264 voting booths of 182 constituencies in the state.” Earlier on Saturday, Samajwadi Party president and former state chief minister Akhilesh Yadav claimed that the saffron party’s winning percentage would decrease if polls are held through ballot papers.
Speaking in Kolkata he had said, “BJP says a total of 16 elections have been held in UP, out of which 14 were won by BJP, 2 by BSP & Congress-SP disappeared. We say that BJP’s winning percentage is 46 percent wherever polls were conducted via EVMs and 15 percent when it was done via ballot papers”.
His comments had come hours after BSP supremo Mayawati also expressed similar apprehensions. Speaking to reporters she had said that elections be held through ballot paper, and added the BJP, which has governments in both state and the Centre would not come to power if polls are held through earlier methods.