Opposition meeting at Pawar’s residence, issue raised regarding EVM

New Delhi: With the general elections only 14 months away, several opposition leaders on Thursday came together to address their concerns about Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and asked the Election Commission of India (ECI) to clear their doubts on EVMs. requested to remove.

Leaders of various political parties including Congress MP Digvijaya Singh, Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal, Samajwadi Party MP Ram Gopal Yadav, SP leader Praful Patel, CPI leader D Raja attended the meeting called by Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar. took. , BRS leader Keshav Rao, CPI (M) leader Elamaram Karim. However, TMC did not attend the meeting.

Talking to this newspaper, CPI General Secretary D Raja said, ‘There are many questions regarding the use of EVMs. The credibility of EVMs has been questioned not only by political parties but also by civil society organisations, public and experts. In such a situation, we felt that political parties should raise questions before the Election Commission. Although we have raised many issues earlier also, but the Election Commission has not given a proper reply. We have to think about the future course of action and collectively take some steps so that democracy is saved.” In May 2022, civil society submitted a letter to the ECI raising doubts regarding manipulation of EVMs.

In January this year, the ECI’s new proposal of Remote Voting Machine (RVM) to allow domestic migrant workers to cast their vote sparked a debate. Several opposition parties were in protest against the proposal, but the election body said it was a ‘work in progress’. With several concerns being flagged by opposition parties regarding the new proposal, the ECI also had to put off the demonstration of the prototype of the machine at an all-party meeting, which was attended by representatives of at least 70 political parties, senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh said that there are apprehensions in the country regarding remote EVMs.

“The EC had called an all-party meeting on remote EVMs. Almost unanimously, there was disagreement by parties on holding elections through remote EVMs. They wanted to give a performance, but that too was turned down. There is doubt in the country on this,” said Singh.

Chief Election Commissioner Rajeev Kumar said the meeting was held after answering the doubts raised by political parties and civil society activists on EVMs. Singh said that though the ECI had earlier said that the EVM was a standalone machine, it later accepted otherwise as the names of the candidates and the symbols of the respective political parties were embedded in it online. “They used to say it had one programmable chip. But now they admit it has multiple programmable chips.”

Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal said that concern was being expressed many times regarding the election process with EVM. He said that whenever machines break down, the vote always goes to BJP. He said, ‘It is true that no country in the world uses EVMs for voting. Then why are these machines being used in our country? If ‘one person, one vote’ can be tampered with, then the very foundation of democracy is at stake.