TRS, BSP join Oppn for debate on poll reforms

The Opposition notice also comes days after BJP National Secretary Rahul Sinha claimed "anything can be done with the EVMs. You can't deny foul play of the ruling party (TMC) in the counting." (DH Photo)

The TRS and the BSP, which have of late been supporting the BJP-led NDA in Parliament, have joined hands with 14 Opposition parties by submitting a joint notice for a discussion on electoral reforms in Rajya Sabha where they are expected to raise the demand for returning to ballot papers.

Sources said the notice has been submitted with Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu and they expect that the demand for a short duration discussion on "electoral reforms for a free and fair election" will be held next week.

The notice initiated by Trinamool Congress's Sukhendu Shekhar Roy has been signed included the Congress, NCP, BSP, RJD, DMK, PDP, Shiv Sena, CPI, CPI(M), MDMK, TRS, Samajwadi Party, AAP and TDP.

BSP's floor leader Satish Chandra Mishra and his TRS counterpart K Keshav Rao have signed the notice besides a nominated MP KTS Tulsi and independent MP Ritabrata Banerjee. From Congress, Ripun Bora has signed while Anil Desai has signed on behalf of Shiv Sena.

Sources said there has been a "broad agreement" among all the parties, which have signed the notice, that there is a need to return to the paper ballots, in a bid that is seen as reviving its anti-Electronic Voting Machine (anti-EVM) stand.

The Opposition notice also comes days after BJP National Secretary Rahul Sinha claimed "anything can be done with the EVMs. You can't deny foul play of the ruling party (TMC) in the counting."

A senior Trinamool Congress leader said that they might have won a "bumper elections", in reference to his party capturing all the three Assembly seats that went to bypolls recently, but that does not mean that they would abandon their position on EVMs.

When asked TMC's Rajya Sabha floor leader Derek O'Brien said, "our party leader and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee suggested that electoral reforms could be discussed. We chose this subject."

Over the weekend, sources said, parties had consultations among themselves over the issue of demanding a discussion on the issue following which the notice was drafted. The leaders will also be meeting Naidu informally to press for their demand for having the discussion next week.

Several Opposition parties had raised questions about the invincibility of the EVMs and had demanded a return to the ballot papers.

BSP chief Mayawati had earlier this year refused to attend a meeting of party chiefs called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on simultaneous polls, saying she would have gone if it was to discuss EVMs. She was one of the first Opposition leaders to raise concerns about EVMs.

Leaders like Banerjee and TDP's Chandrababu Naidu were also suspicious about the use of EVMs and demanded a return to the paper ballots. 

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
GET IT
Comments (+)