National

Opposition demands debate on electoral reforms

A ‘no’ vote: Several parties say the Election Commission has not been able to set at rest doubts on EVMs.

A ‘no’ vote: Several parties say the Election Commission has not been able to set at rest doubts on EVMs.  

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Shiv Sena, BSP, TRS also sign motion by 16 parties seeking return to paper ballot in place of electronic voting machine

At least 16 Opposition parties have signed a motion demanding a debate on “electoral reforms for free and fair elections”. The parties are likely to ask the Narendra Modi government to revert to paper ballot in place of the electronic voting machine.

The signatories include BSP’s Satish Chandra Mishra and Telangana Rashtra Samithi’s Keshava Rao. The two parties have so far not been part of any Opposition efforts and it is the first time in this session that they have decided to stand with the rest of the Opposition on the issue.

If Chairman Venkaiah Naidu allows the debate, it will be held next week. The parties that have signed the motion include the Trinamool, Congress, DMK, NCP, RJD, PDP, Samajwadi Party, MDMK, TDP, AAP, Kerala Congress(M) CPI (M) and CPI. The Shiv Sena, which recently parted ways with the BJP, has also joined forces with the Opposition. This is the second instance when it has backed the rest of the Opposition in demanding a debate. Earlier it was one of the signatories to push the government to debate the current economic situation.

“This is one issue where all the parties feel strongly. There are many issues on electoral reforms that we need to raise, be it the opacity of electoral bonds which allows the BJP to garner maximum funds in comparison to all the other parties,” an Opposition leader said.

The parties submitted the motion in the morning. There is near unanimity on the issue of reverting to the paper ballot. The issue has been raised by BSP supremo Mayawati on several occasions since the 2019 Lok Sabha results.

“The EC after several meetings has not been able to give us a satisfactory reply on EVMs. If there is even an iota of doubt on whether they can be tampered with they shouldn’t be used at all,” another Opposition leader said.

The Opposition parties will be flagging the recent incident from Pennsylvania for Northampton County judge’s election where tampering of the electronic voting machine was reported. The officials blamed it on a bug in the software. “This is a worldwide demand that paper ballots are safer and far more trustworthy. Ahead of the 2020 presidential elections in the U.S. many are demanding reverting to paper ballot,” a third Opposition leader pointed out.

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Printable version | Dec 10, 2019 4:48:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/opposition-demands-debate-on-electoral-reforms/article30152560.ece

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