FROM A CORRESPONDENT
SHILLONG, Dec 15: The United Democratic Party (UDP) on Friday resolved to demand use of ballot papers instead of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the 2018 Assembly polls even as a leader of the regiol party said that he does not have faith in the Election Commission of India (ECI).
“These machines are man-made and can be easily tampered. They don’t reflect the mandate of the people,” UDP working president Bindo M Lanong told reporters after the general council meeting of the party. “At least, I don’t (trust) because I want a very transparent election,” the UDP leader added.
To make his point, Lanong stated that in the North-eastern States the constituencies are small consisting of about 30,000 to 40,000 voters only and therefore counting of votes will not be time consuming.
The UDP leader also said votes of various constituencies are counted simultaneously all over the State and there will be no problem to declare the results early.
Lanong also alleged that the ECI will bring the EVMs from neighbouring Assam, which is ruled by the BJP. He also said the EVMs should have been kept in the custody of the ECI rather than the government.
Lanong reminded that a leader of the BJP had recently declared that they will spring a “surprise”.
“We fear that their claim may have something behind. Their claim is fishy,” he said.
Lanong also reminded that even Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma had expressed doubts over the voting machines after the outcome of last year’s Tura Lok Sabha by-poll where the Congress was overwhelmingly defeated.
Among other things, the UDP general council also resolved to oppose the “claim” of the Centre that coal belongs to the government.
According to Lanong, in Meghalaya the land belongs to the people and therefore whatever lies underneath it is of the people.
The veteran UDP leader said that in Meghalaya, except for gold, silver and oil and tural gas, other minerals like coal and limestone belong to the people.
The UDP also reiterated that it will not have any alliance with the BJP even though it is part of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) led by the saffron party.
“Our alliance is only with the HSPDP. The NEDA is only a forum for development of the region,” Lanong clarified.