Anti-EVM groups to stage 'Long March' on Quit India Day

Anti-EVM groups to stage 'Long March' on Quit India Day

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Replicating the 'Quit India' movement of the Independence Struggle, anti-EVM activists will organise nationwide 'Long March' on August 9 calling for 'EVM Quit India' and return to paper ballots.

This was decided at a national consultation meeting held in the national capital recently organised by the EVM Virodhi Rashtriya Jan Andolan (EVRJA), a conglomeration of various organisations that are against the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) in elections in the country.

On August 9, the EVRJA will organise Long Marches across the country. "We have appealed to the people to organise massive protests and categorically state – EVMs Quit India. EVM Hatao, Desh Bachao (Remove EVMs, Save Country), Ballot Paper Lao (Bring Ballot Papers)," EVRJA activists said.

The national consultation led by activists Ravi Bhilane, Feroze Mithiborwala, Dr Sunilam, Shabnam Hashmi, Jyoti Badekar and Dhananjay Shinde was attended by social movements from 16 states and included representatives of farmers, trade unions, women, student and youth organisations.

According to the activists, EVM-VVPAT "fraud" is being perpetrated on the nation and the entire election process has been "subverted". "This unprecedented situation poses a grave risk to the very foundations of our democracy, our Constitution and our Institutions," they said.

Leaders of various political parties also attended the national consultation and these included Nana Patole (Congress), Nilotpal Basu (CPIM), D Raja (CPI), Sanjay Singh (AAP), Danish Ali (BSP), Javed Ali Khan (SP) and Retd Justice Kolse Patil (JDS).

To organise the August 9 protests, a National Working Committee, state and city committees will be formed. A National Council would be formed to include a member from each of the member organisations, right down to the grass-root level, the EVRJA said.

Soon after the Lok Sabha election results, the EVRJA had written an open letter to Opposition parties urging them to take up a campaign to return to ballot papers during elections. It had said that the "depth and scale" of BJP victories in Hindi heartland states raises alarm bells about tampering of electronic voting machines.

It described EVM tampering as "worse than booth capturing" and that such exercise with compromised machines would give "far greater legitimacy, as it would be invisible, technology-driven and could steal peoples' mandate without being discovered".

"If we ignore the EVM factor completely (and confining oneself only to political and organisational factors while analysing Lok Sabha results), we are sure to arrive at a wrong conclusion for course correction," the letter had said.