Oppn to demand return to ballot: TMC MP

Oppn to demand return to ballot: TMC MP

TMC MP Saugata Roy. PTI file photo

As many as 17 Opposition parties are set to come together to urge the Election Commission to return to ballot papers to conduct polls, TMC MP Saugata Roy told the Lok Sabha on Monday.

The clamour against the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) is likely to become louder again ahead of the forthcoming Assembly elections in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, as well as the Lok Sabha elections next year.

"The neutrality of the EVMs has been questioned and we feel that it has been compromised," Roy said during the Zero Hour.

The controversy over the credibility of the EVMs had started after the landslide victory of the ruling BJP in the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand early last year.

The EC, however, rejected the Opposition's allegation that the EVMs had been tampered to ensure the victory of the BJP in the elections in the two states.

The poll-panel also held a "challenge" and offered an opportunity to all political parties to prove their claims that the EVMs could be tampered with or that the machines used in the Assembly elections had tampered.

The controversy, however, prompted the EC to decide that it would deploy Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail devices with all the EVMs in all the future polls across the country.

The issue came to the fore once again recently. Chief Minister of West Bengal and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee discussed the issue with leaders of other Opposition parties during her visit to New Delhi last week.

"When she (Banerjee) came to New Delhi last week, she gave a call to all Opposition (parties) to come together to demand ballot papers be brought back," Roy said.

He cited the example of "advanced" countries like the US and Germany, which, according to him, were still using ballot papers to conduct polls. "We have no proof that EVMs cannot be compromised," he said.

"I reiterate the demand of the TMC and of all Opposition parties that the EVM should be scrapped and ballot papers should be brought back to ensure a fair voting so that there is no hacking, no manipulation of the EVMs by the ruling party or, their cohorts," said Roy.