Shillong, December 23, 2017: The political parties in Meghalaya have expressed doubts over the accuracy of votes recorded in EVMs even as asking the Election Commission of India not to use EVMs and VVPATs in next year’s Assembly polls. The representatives from as many as 11 political parties met the ECI team unanimously demanded re-introduction of ballot papers for greater transparency.
It may be mentioned that the team of ECI led by chief election commissioner, Achal Kumar Joti at Hotel Pinewood visited the State to take stock of the election preparedness in the State ahead of next year’s Assembly elections in the State. Besides the Chief Election Commissioner, the other ECI officials who accompanied the Chief Election Commission include Om Prakash Rawat and Sunil Arora.
Despite the political parities in the State expressing doubts over the authenticity of EVMs, the ECI team tried to convince them that EVMs to be used in the upcoming polls were of improved version since VVPATs would be attached to it to allow voters to verify whether their vote has gone to the candidate of their choice.
The Nationalist Congress Party in Meghalaya while doubting the accuracy of votes recorded in EVMs and slips generated by VVPATs, asked the ECI not to allow service voters from other states as well as from Nepal working in various defence establishments in Meghalaya not to become voters of the state.
NCP Meghalaya state general secretary, S.P. Thapa told reporters that most people recruited in various defence establishments hailed from other states and in certain Indian army like the Gorkha Regiment Centre, even people from Nepal have been recruited.
“Service voters from other states have already enrolled in their respective states and should cast their votes in their own state only. How can service people from other states as well as from Nepal become voters of Meghalaya just because they are working in Meghalaya,” he said. The NCP also demanded using of ballot papers in next year’s Assembly elections, and questioned the ECI’s decision to count the votes recorded in EVMs and slips generated by VVPAT only one polling station from each constituency.
“Votes recorded in EVMs and slips generated by VPPATs should be counted from all polling booths to ensure that votes recorded in EVMs and slips generated by VVPATs are tallying. If you are not counting votes from all polling booths, what is the point in introducing VVPATs?” NCP Meghalaya working president, Vijay Raj asked.
Raj suggested the ECI to do away with EVMs and VVPATs and re-introduce ballot papers. Other political parties like the Khun Hynñiewtrep National Awakening Movement demanded from the Election Commission to check the use of money power as well as fix certain educational qualification for aspiring candidates.