New Delhi: Political parties were divided on reverting back to ballot paper in place of EVMs in elections and holding simultaneous polls to the Lok Sabha and Assemblies at an all-party meeting convened by the Election Commission that also discussed state funding. The meeting of all the recognised national and state parties was convened to discuss the fidelity of electoral rolls, election expenditure regulation and inclusion of print media in the election campaign silence period.
Chief Election Commissioner A.K Rawat said the Commission would take a call on all the issues raised by parties including on EVMs and ballot paper, integrity of electoral rolls and ceiling on expenditure by political parties. “There will be a satisfactory solution to the issues,” he told reporters after the meeting.
Parties like the Congress, CPI, Trinamool Congress, BSP and DMK said that there should be return to ballot papers while the BJP and BJD said they were satisfied with electronic voting machines (EVMs). The CPI-M said there should be more safeguards in the present process of voting. The AAP said either the count to verify electronic voting machine (EVM) results with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) should be increased or there should be a return to ballot paper while the AIADMK said it was fine both with EVMs and ballot paper.
Talking to reporters, Congress leader Mukul Wasnik said the party supported “the demand of using ballot paper in the election in the present situation.” He said malfunctioning of EVMs was a major issue. “VVPATs were introduced but are not being cross-checked. We demanded that at least 30 per cent of the votes should be cross-checked,” Wasnik said. He said more transparency was required in the voters list as a number of cases had surfaced in the recent past where lakhs and lakhs of bogus voters were found. “These bogus voters affect the entire electoral process.” BJP leader and union minister J.P. Nadda said the Election Commission’s efforts to match EVM results with VVPAT was a good move. Asked about the Congress demand for a return to ballot paper, he said that party’s “habit of looking forward has ended.” Bahujan Samaj Party’s Satish Misra said EVMs can be hacked. He said almost every party, except one, had made the demand and the world had gone back to the ballot paper. (IANS)