Mamata’s demand for ballot puts CPM, Congress in a spot

Mamata’s demand for ballot puts CPM, Congress in a spot

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s call to do away with EVMs and return to ballot papers has put the state units of the CPM and Congress in a spot.

Despite the similarities among their demands over the issue, the CPM and Congress leadership have been unable to take a call on whether to support Banerjee on the issue due to political rivalry.

“ Congress has been one of the most vocal Opposition parties regarding misuse of EVMs. But we have seen what happened in the last Panchayat elections in the state. Ballot papers were looted,” said Adhir Chowdhury, leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha.

‘Restore democracy’

He also said that TMC should first restore democracy in Bengal and then raise the demand of bringing back ballot papers.

Pointing out that TMC has won two consecutive Assembly elections (2011,2016) which were held using EVMs senior CPM MLA and Central Committee member Sujan Chakraborty said, “ There is no use now for them (TMC) to shout against EVMs after the Lok Sabha elections. First democracy has to be restored in Bengal.

Although the Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo had declared at her party’s mega Martyr’s Day rally on July 21 that she will urge the State Election Commission (SEC) to hold all the local elections in ballot papers SEC sources revealed that the party is yet to formally place the demand before the Commission.

“ We are yet to receive any communication from the state government regarding the
17 municipalities where polls are due. Next year 91 municipalities including the Kolkata Municipal Corporation will also go to polls.

“After the state government makes its stand clear the Commission will take a call on whether to use EVMs or ballot papers,” a senior SEC official said.

However, TMC secretary-general and state’s Education Minister Partha Chatterjee said that his party has already informed the Election Commission (EC) about their demands and will soon officially communicate it to the SEC.