Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal, has written to Election Commission, requesting not to use Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) for polling during the upcoming municipal elections in the National Capital. Instead, the AAP chief has demanded the use of ballot papers for the polling. Kejriwal’s demand has come in the wake of BSP chief Mayawati’s allegation that the EVMs were tampered in Uttar Pradesh to effect positive results for the BJP.
The election for three municipal corporations of Delhi will be held on 22nd April. The counting will take place on 25th April, informed the Delhi State Election Commission. Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken had also approached the commission with the same demand. In response, the EC rejected BSP claim. “The Election Commission has firm conviction and complete satisfaction that EVMs cannot be tampered with”.
Trashing Mayawati’s claim that BJP members tampered EVMs, the EC explained the elaborate process through which it ensures that there is no manipulation of the EVMs. It also said, “On the poll day, a mock drill by casting at least 50 votes is conducted at every polling stations in the presence of the representatives of the candidates/polling agents with their signature and a certificate to that effect is obtained from every Presiding Officer”.
Despite the EC clarification, Kejriwal is another leader who has written to the poll panel. Kejriwal’s move, however, appears to be aimed at creating doubts in the eyes of the voters. Had it not been the same, why AAP has not raised similar concern in Punjab, where Congress party trounced AAP hopes. Not only this, there was no EVM – related raised by any party, including AAP, when the latter won 67 out of 70 seats in 2015 Delhi election.
Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Manoj Tiwari said if Kejriwal and Maken do not trust the EVMs, then “Kejriwal should go for Delhi assembly (where the AAP won 67 of the 70 seats) and Maken should ask the Congress leadership to call for re-election in Punjab through ballot papers”. Mr Tiwari said Maken’s and Kejriwal’s demand for ballot papers “demonstrates their utter frustration and apprehension that they will lose the civic elections”.
It is interesting that Congress, which won a massive majority in Punjab, is also questioning the use of EVMs. In a letter, Delhi Congress leader Ajay Maken has written to Kejriwal to get the MCD election carried out with ballot papers. Raising concern that Vote Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) in EVMs has not yet been introduced to ensure 100% transparency, Maken said, “Fact of the matter is, that serious doubts have croppers up in the minds of the voters as to the free and fair nature of the electoral process”.
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