Leaders of 13 Oppostion parties, including Jayalalithaa (AIADMK), A.B. Bardhan (CPI), Prakash Karat (CPI-M) and H.D. Deve Gowda (JD-S) have urged the Election Commission to immediately convene an all-party meeting to discuss in-depth the desirability or otherwise of using electronic voting machines.

In a joint letter sent to Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla, they said such a meeting was necessary to discuss the urgent steps required to reform the voting system so that the people and the political class could have faith in the voting system. “This is the essence of our democracy and the EC is bound to perform this constitutional obligation.”

They said they had serious apprehensions on the use of EVMs in polls as there were fears of possibilities of tampering with the software embedded in the EVMs at various stages from their manufacturing, maintenance and storage. “Some experts have demonstrated how such manipulation can be done.” The EVM-related concerns were of national importance and impinge heavily on the sanctity of country's electoral mandates, they said.

The other signatories were: Chandrababu Naidu (TDP), Lalu Prasad Yadav (RJD), Mulayam Singh Yadav (SP) and Sharad Yadav (JD-U).

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