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Demands for Using Ballot Papers in the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections by 17 Opposition Parties 

Lok Sabha elections
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New Delhi: The  2019 Lok Sabha elections are likely to see a change in the voting process as lately, 17 opposition parties have joined hands to raise a demand for the use of ballot paper and not pressing the button this time. the opposition parties, led by the Congress, are of this opinion that even the voting machines (EVMs) with voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPATs) too will not be acceptable for the forthcoming elections.

Indian National Congress spokesperson Rajeev Gowda stated, “The Congress passed a resolution in the plenary session in which it expressed preference for ballot papers because of the concerns about the EVMs. It is imperative to ensure full faith in the electoral process.”

After a joint meeting on Monday, the parties have decided to put up a discussion in Parliament and then will follow with a fresh appeal to the Election Commission of India (ECI) over the next week.

TMC’s floor leader in the Rajya Sabha Derek O’Brien says, “EVM is the next big issue for us. We want to revert to the ballot system.”

Contrary to the fresh demands of the opposition parties, the ECI maintains that EVMs are tamper-proof and the reason behind using the VVPATs is that these provide an additional layer to accuracy guarantee. Basing on the accuracy and the safety of the EVMs, the ECI has thus, repeatedly urged parties to refrain from expressing doubts over its efficacy.

Notably, the demand for the re-use of the ballot boxes has brought a set of unlikely parties together and join hands in favour of a change in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. The worth-naming ones among such opposition parties are the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Left, the Nationalist Congress Party and the ruling National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA) partner Shiv Sena, the Telugu Desam Party and the YSR Congress, among others. However, the opposition parties who have not yet extended their support to this drive are the AIADMK, Telangana Rashtriya Samithi and the Biju Janata Dal.