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Opposition parties raise concerns over EVM use in electoral process, to meet Election Commission
New Delhi: The opposition parties held a meeting at NCP chief Sharad Pawar's residence in the national capital in which the parties decided to seek answers from the Election Commission of India regarding the efficacy of Remote Electronic Voting Machine in the elections.
Leaders of various political parties participated in the meeting convened by Pawar including Congress MP Digvijaya Singh, Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal, and Samajwadi Party MP Ram Gopal Yadav, SP leader Praful Patel, CPI leader D Raja, BRS leader Keshava Rao, CPIM leader Elamaram Kareem among others. However, Trinamool Congress skipped the meeting despite the invitation by the NCP chief.
Addressing a press conference after the meeting, Digvijaya Singh said that there is suspicion in the country over the Remote EVM.
"EC had called an all-party meeting over Remote EVM. Almost unanimously, holding elections through Remote EVM was disagreed (by parties). They wanted to give a demonstration, but that too was turned down. There is suspicion in the country over this," Singh said.
The Congress said that the Election Commission itself accepted that the EVM is "not a standalone machine" as the names and symbols of the candidates contesting the elections are installed via the internet.
"We do not say that it should be replaced with something else. But earlier they used to say that this is a standalone machine, but now they accept that it is not a standalone machine because the names and symbols of the candidates are being put in through the internet. Earlier they used to say that it is a one-time programmable chip, now they accept that it is a multi-programmable chip," he said.
"There are numerous such questions which we have to seek answers to from the ECI. All the parties have agreed that we have to ask questions from the ECI. The confusion in our minds should be cleared," Singh added.
Kapil Sibal, who was also present at the meeting, said that the opposition parties had put forth their demands before the ECI, however, they have not received any responses.
"It is not for the first time that we have put forth these demands in front of the Election Commission. We have moved ECI numerous times and they have said that the EVM can be misused," Sibal said.
The Rajya Sabha MP alleged that vote always goes to the BJP whenever there is any "fault in the EVM".
"We have seen that whenever there is some fault in the EVM, vote always goes to the BJP. This confusion is not only limited to the political parties, but also among the people. The ECI has not given answers till today. We have decided that we will go to the Election Commission and tell them that we have been telling this for numerous years. What will you do in this regard? We will seek written answers to our questions so that this confusion could end," he said.
General Secretary of the Communist Party of India, D Raja remarked on the absence of TMC in the meeting and said that the party's stand on all the questions raised at the meeting is known.
"TMC in the Parliament remains against the BJP-ruled government at the Center and stays with the opposition parties on most issues," he said.
Meanwhile, the civil society submitted a letter to Election Commission of India in May 2022 and another reminder after two weeks (Annexure 3). ECI did even acknowledge their letter. The doubts regarding the possibility of manipulating EVM are being raised even by the common man now, Pawar had earlier said.
The Chief Election Commissioner earlier promised to respond to the doubts raised by some civil society activists and political parties. (ANI)