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Shiv Sena bats strongly for ballot paper

New Delhi: Vouching for ballot paper voting, the Shiv Sena on Friday said that the Electric Voting Machines (EVM) might increase the efficiency of counting votes by reducing time, but considering that the votes determine the future of a democracy, waiting for a day or two is not much.
Asserting that Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray had urged to abandon EVMs, party leader Anil Desai hoped that the Election Commission will consider the matter seriously and take a fair decision in the regard.

“We expect that the election commission will consider the issue and take a serious decision in the matter. The way controversies are cropping in connection with EVM tampering, this needs due attention,” said Desai.

“When EVMs were introduced, Balasaheb Thackeray had urged to abandon it, and vouched for ballot paper voting. Counting may take time in ballot paper voting, but it would be fine to await results of our democracy, even if it takes 1-2days more. At least if we switch back to ballot paper there will be no apprehensions left,” it added.

The Election Commission today is convening an all-party meeting over the issue of EVM and other electoral reforms in the national capital.

In its communication to the presidents of all the seven national and 48 state political parties, the Commission sent a status paper on EVMs and Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail, VVPAT.

The poll panel will try to assure parties that the EVMs cannot be hacked in any manner.

Last month, sixteen opposition parties had urged the Election Commission to revert to the paper ballot system saying that the alleged tampering has created trust deficit in the credibility of the EVMs.

However, the poll body has been maintaining that EVMs are tamper proof and cannot be manipulated.

The poll panel intends to use Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) units attached with EVMs in the coming elections for greater transparency and to keep voters’ confidence in the electoral process.

The Union Cabinet had given its nod to sanctioned funds of nearly 3200 crore rupees to procure more than 16 lakh VVPATs as sought by the EC.

Besides EVMs, the meeting is expected to deliberate on making bribery in elections a cognisable offence, disqualification on framing of charges for the offences of bribery in elections and suggestions in VVPAT recount Rules.

On Tuesday, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), during a special session of the Delhi assembly, conducted a live demonstration on how EVMs can be tampered with.

Reacting to the demonstration, the poll panel said the machine used to conduct live demonstration was a ‘look-alike” which was made to function in a ‘tampered’ manner.

Conducting a mock poll on an EVM machine, AAP leader Saurabh Bharadwaj demonstrated how despite giving two votes each to various parties; the final count showed that votes of some parties had been transferred to one party.

A day before the all-party meeting, the AAP on Thursday forwarded a new demand, calling for an all party committee to be formed under the monitoring of the EC to ascertain whether EVMS were hacked in the recently held elections or not. (ANI)