Referendum must be conducted on EVM in polls: Moily

Last Updated 17 June 2019, 13:38 IST

Asserting that there are "serious doubts" over EVM, senior Congress leader M Veerappa Moily has sought a referendum on whether it should be used in the electoral process or ballot papers be brought back.

He also emphasised that such a referendum should be conducted on ballot papers and not on electronic voting machines (EVMs) over which he claimed there was a trust deficit.

"Everybody is suspecting EVM. This is a very serious matter and there is serious doubt on EVM. I think many countries like the US after having used EVM have gone back to manual voting," Moily told PTI in an interview.

He asserted that when serious doubts have arisen, the Election Commission (EC) and the government should act and go back to the ballot paper.

"There are serious doubts and EVM machines will have to be given up to return to the ballot. I think on this question of the electoral process itself, even if it is necessary to take referendum from the people, I think the government should do that kind of a referendum," Moily said.

"But again, the referendum not on machines, but on the ballot paper. Let them conduct, we will know the truth," the former Union minister said.

If it is in favour of the NDA, it is fine, but at least the doubt will be clear, Moily said.

"Referendum (is needed) because of serious doubts cast upon the electoral system and machines, it has to be done," the former Karnataka chief minister said.

Moily alleged that the EC's behaviour itself has become suspicious as it "did not do anything" to clear the doubts raised over the electoral process.

Asked why the Congress was not raising the issue of alleged EVM fraud strongly, he said the party had taken the matter to the EC even during elections, but it wants that the issue should not be seen as an alibi for defeat.

"It is not an alibi, it is a serious question. When I was the Law Minister, at that time also there was some doubt and we appointed a committee. But, now there is serious doubt and machines will have to be given up in favour of the ballot," the 79-year-old leader said.

Moily's remarks come days after UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, apparently hinting at EVMs, claimed "many types of doubts" have emerged in the past few years over the country's electoral processes.

"There is a saying that there is no smoke without fire," she said in Raebareli last Wednesday.

Opposition parties, including the Congress, have alleged that EVMs can be tampered with, giving the ruling BJP the advantage in an election.

The BJP has hit out at the Congress for raising doubts over the use of EVM in the Lok Sabha polls with Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi Friday saying the grand old party is showing arrogance instead of introspecting its defeat in the elections.

Moily also expressed confidence that Congress can play the role of a dynamic opposition despite its small numbers in the Lok Sabha.

"Numbers are not important. The passion with which we take up the cause of the party is important," he said.

(Published 17 June 2019, 13:21 IST)

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