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Paper ballots should be used like every advanced democracy, not EVMs: YSRCP chief Jagan Mohan

On that day of the results, Jagan avoided blaming the EVMs. However, he swiftly demanded paper ballots on Tuesday following Elon Musk's revelations about EVM hacking and tampering.
Last Updated : 18 June 2024, 07:28 IST

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Hyderabad: Following a crushing defeat in the elections, YSRCP chief and former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has strongly advocated returning to paper ballots over electronic voting machines (EVMs).

Immediately following the defeat, Jagan had expressed his inability to understand why he lost, despite having spent a substantial amount on welfare schemes.

On that day of the results, Jagan avoided blaming the EVMs. However, he swiftly demanded paper ballots on Tuesday following Elon Musk's revelations about EVM hacking and tampering.

“Just as justice should not only be served but should also appear to have been served, so should democracy not only prevail but must appear to be prevalent undoubtedly. In electoral practices across the world, in almost every advanced democracy, paper ballots are used, not EVMs. We too must move towards the same in upholding the true spirit of our democracy,” Jagan posted on X.

The YSRCP chief probably for the first time endorsed the thinking of I.N.D.I.A alliance that had also raised concerns over EVM tampering.

Volte face

TDP leaders swiftly countered Jagan by unearthing old videos in which he endorsed EVMs and asserted that no voter in 2019 had lodged complaints against EVMs due to the visibility of VVPAT slips. In 2019, Jagan's YSRCP registered a landslide win, bagging 151 of the 175 assembly seats and 22 out of the 25 Lok Sabha seats in Andhra Pradesh.

“Jagan did not say this in 2019. Now, after you lose, you shouldn't say anything. Jagan's YSRCP got 40 per cent votes with these EVMs. Whoever wins or loses is entirely in the hands of the voters. Not EVMs,” said Guntur-based political analyst and Navyandhra Intellectual Forum chairman, Professor DAR Subramanyam.

"Saying that the EVMs worked brilliantly when you won 151 seats and they are not good at all and tampered with when you get 11 seats is not at all right," TDP's social media handles said.

Unanswered questions

Retired bureaucrat, EAS Sarma wrote to Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar stating that EC cannot shy away from doubts raised by the public post-election.

“The 2024 elections are over, some parties have won, others lost. However, questions about the Commission's effectiveness as a Constitutional authority and its independence remain unanswered. At the end of the day, even at this belated hour, should not the Commission try to function transparently, as it should, and address the concerns of the people arising post-election? For example, a verification of the figures officially released by the Commission do not seem to conform to the basic norm of consistency that the vote count should fulfill,” said EAS Sarma.

Unless the Commission addresses such questions in a forthright manner and clarifies the position, it would only be allowing the doubts and concerns to persist in the minds of the people, eroding its own credibility, he added.

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Published 18 June 2024, 07:28 IST

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