On Thursday, representatives of several Opposition parties converged at NCP supremo Sharad Pawar’s residence to discuss the alleged manipulation of Electronic Voting Machines in the recently held polls. After the meeting, the parties decided to take the matter up with the Election Commission.
Over an hour-long meeting was attended by leaders from Congress, CPI, Aam Admi Party, Janata Dal (United), and Shiv Sena, while the Trinamool Congress declined the invitation from the NCP chief to participate.
Pawar tweeted, “A meeting of Opposition leaders was held at my residence today to discuss the efficacy of EVM and the concerns raised by political parties about voting through EVM.”
Former Congress leader Kapil Sibal, who also attended the meeting, said: “Any machine can be manipulated. Our concerns are that we have been saying over the years that it is not a standalone machine. The internet is being used so it can be programmed. We will have to take a call on what needs to be done because it doesn’t seem we will get any answers.”
D Raja, CPI general secretary, stated that all parties have concurred that many queries had been raised with regard to EVMs’ credibility. He added that they would study the Election Commission’s response to these questions and then determine the subsequent steps.
Raja mentioned Rahul’s conviction briefly at the meeting, but there was no further discussion on the topic.
“The leaders had only discussed the law pertaining to the case,” Sibal said.
These parties are attempting to form a larger coalition to increase their chances in the upcoming elections.
On Thursday, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, a key figure in this collective, met with Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik. She is scheduled to meet former Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy the following day.
The use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in elections has been a source of contention for Opposition parties. Despite their past claims of tampering with the machines during various polls, there is no evidence to support these allegations.
The Election Commission has affirmed that all machines used for voting are secure and have been securely transported.
The EC ruled out reverting to paper ballots after none of the political parties were able to prove their allegations against the EVMs.
VVPAT (voter-verifiable paper audit trail) will be used along with EVMs in all elections to ensure transparency. It records the name of the candidate and symbol a person voted for on a paper receipt.
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