Use ballot paper, not EVMs for 2018 polls: CM

Use ballot paper, not EVMs for 2018 polls: CM
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday pitched for ballot papers to replace electronic voting machines (EVM) in the 2018 Assembly polls, expressing concern that the machines were prone to tampering.

"We will write to the Election Commission and even meet the officials there insisting on ballot papers," Siddaramaiah told reporters. "I have spoken to some experts about the EVMs. There is scope for tampering. What is the problem in going back to the old system of ballot papers?" he asked.

This is the first time Siddaramaiah, who will lead the Congress party in the 2018 elections, has publicly commented on the ongoing debate on the EVMs. Taking on the BJP-led Centre, he said, "They have power. The Election Commission is in their hands, although it is supposed to be an independent Constitutional body. They can appoint whoever they want as the Chief Election Commissioner," he said, pointing out that the US and Germany had switched back to ballot papers after trying EVMs.

The ruling Congress, however, seems to have been caught off-guard by Siddaramaiah's remarks. AICC spokesperson Dinesh Gundu Rao said returning to the ballot paper was a decision the party had to take at the national level. "We will discuss and decide this at the AICC," he said, when asked if Siddaramaiah's stand was that of the party's. "Concerns of EVM misuse have been raised in our party and it is being discussed seriously. Any machine can be hacked and be erroneous. We will definitely take a strong stand on this," he maintained. Rao is also the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) working president.  

KPCC president G Parameshwara has, on several occasions, warned of EVM misuse in the Gujarat elections.

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