The representatives of the recognised national and State-level political parties on Friday expressed satisfaction over the functioning of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT), developed by the Election Commission (EC) and made some suggestions for further improvement.
The Commission said “the suggestions will be considered by the Expert Committee and the EC.” Informed sources said the improved VVPAT could possibly be used for field trial in the next few months in the by-poll and subsequently in the 2014 Lok Sabha election.
The representatives were participating in the demonstration of VVPAT, which was jointly developed by the public sector Electronics Corporation of India Limited and the Bharat Electrionics Limited and the model had already undergone field trials twice in various parts of the country.
According to the improvement made in the VVPAT, a voter who exercised his/her vote through the ballot unit of the EVM could physically see the printout of the vote cast by him/her. The name of the candidate, his/her election symbol and his/her serial number in the ballot would be displayed in the printout which the voter cannot take home.
Later, Chief Election Commissioner V.S. Sampath and Election Commissioners H.S. Brahma and S.N.A. Zaidi had separate meetings with a number of individuals and groups including Janata Party president Subramaniam Swamy, former Chief Secretary of Delhi Omesh Saigal, and engineers V.V. Rao and G.V. L. Narsimha Rao who had been engaged with the Commission in the past regarding the functioning of the EVM.
“The VVPAT was demonstrated to them and their questions were answered. Those attending the meeting expressed satisfaction over the VVPAT and requested that this may be taken forward expeditiously,” an EC release said.
Earlier, during the all-party meeting, the participants expressed concern over the growing use of money power in the polls and wanted early introduction of electoral reforms to curb black money in funding of elections and banning candidates with criminal background from contesting polls.
The parties wanted that the electoral reform be introduced in the next general elections.
While Congress representative Vishvajit Singh expressed concern on the quality of paper used in the VVPAT, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi (Bharatiya Janata party) suggested that VVPAT could be introduced in the next general and assembly elections.
VVPAT a “breakthrough”
Chandrababu Naidu, president, Telugu Desam Party, called the development of VVPAT a breakthrough.
Danish Ali, secretary general, Janata Dal (Secular) sought a complete ban on the exit and opinion polls (at least from the day polls are announced till the voting is completed). He suggested that the corporate funding to the election could be routed through the EC by setting up a common fund pool and distributed from there to the recognised parties according to their past poll performance.