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INLD joins chorus for use of ballot papers in 2019 elections

Statesman News Service | Chandigarh |

Haryana’s main opposition party Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) on Friday declared its support to other political parties demanding 2019 general elections be conducted by ballot paper and not electronic voting machines (EVMs).

Welcoming the “unity” shown by most opposition parties at the Centre on the use of EVMs, the leader of opposition in Haryana Assembly, Abhay Singh Chautala, said the INLD too was in favour of using ballot papers instead of EVMs.

Chautala claimed that INLD had long been demanding that the voting system by pressing button (instead of casting paper ballot) be rejected as there were considerable doubts about the election process being fair and tamper-proof with EVMs.

He remarked that he was glad that finally other political parties too had come out to support the view held by INLD.

Chautala said the fairness of poll process was the soul of elections and vital to democracy. If the system failed to inspire confidence among all political parties, then it was the duty of the Election Commission to revert to the system that was in use earlier.

He asserted that since the core of election system, EVMs, were now under a cloud, the use of voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) too was of little use to uphold the sanctity of fair electoral process.

The INLD leader also reminded that none of the democracies of repute used electronic voting system. Even though other democracies were technologically more advanced and depended heavily on the use of technology, they relied on manual paper ballots.

Chautala reiterated that INLD stuck to its old demand that EVM system be scrapped and the next Lok Sabha elections be conducted by exercise of ballot papers. He added that his party stood with all other parties who shared the concerns of INLD.

It may be mentioned that at least 17 political parties are expected to approach the Election Commission of India (ECI) next week to demand 2019 general elections be conducted by ballot paper and not EVMs. Opposition parties have often alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) tampered with EVMs to tilt poll results to its favour.

The Election Commission, however, has maintained that EVMs are tamper-proof and VVPATs?provide an extra guarantee on fair poll mechanism. It has also time and again urged parties to refrain from expressing doubts about the efficacy of EVMs.

The demand for ballot papers is being supported by many major parties that include Trinamul Congress (TMC), Left parties, Nationalist Congress Party, Shiv Sena, Telugu Desam Party and YSR Congress.