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Maharashtra Opposition leaders meet to discuss strategy over EVMs

Former MP Raju Shetti joins other politicians to demand use of ballot papers in the Assembly elections.

Former MP Raju Shetti joins other politicians to demand use of ballot papers in the Assembly elections.   | Photo Credit: UDAY DEOLEKAR


Raju Shetti, NCP leaders invite Raj Thackeray to join August 9 anti-EVM march

Leaders of opposition parties on Monday held a meeting with Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray to discuss the strategy regarding the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) in the Assembly polls.

Former MP and farmers’ leader Raju Shetti along with leaders of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Peasants and Workers Party (PWP) met Mr. Thackeray. At the meeting Mr. Shetti invited him to join the August 9 programme against the use of EMVs in Indian elections.

“People are questioning EVMs everywhere. Be it in the villages or cities. Any discussion on politics revolves around the use of EVMs and whether those can be manipulated in favour of a particular party. The EVMs are posing a threat to democratic process and we are think that they should not be used,” said Mr. Shetti.

The NCP and Congress have already challenged the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government in the State to hold the coming polls on ballot paper instead of EVMs. Replying to this demand by the Opposition, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had, during the proceedings in the recently-concluded monsoon session of Assembly, said instead of blaming the EMVs, they should concentrate on finding reasons for their losses.

Mr. Shetti said on Monday that he had invited Mr. Thackeray to join the people’s movement against the EVMs. The MNS chief had recently called on the Chief Election Commissioner of India in New Delhi requesting use of ballot papers instead of EVMs.

On Tuesday, an all-party press conference to demand ‘back to ballot for Maharashtra elections’, will be held in Mumbai by the EVM Virodhi Rashtriya Jan Andolan (EVRJA). On August 9, a long march demanding dropping of EVMs from the electoral process will be held in Mumbai from August Kranti Maidan to Chaityabhoomi.

“I also met Narayan Rane on Sunday with this proposal. He too has doubts over the use of EVMs in elections, but did not confirm whether he will be part of the anti-EVM movement,” said Mr. Shetti. Mr Rane, after quitting Congress has formed his own party, the Maharashtra Swabhiman Party (MSP), but is a Rajya Sabha member from the BJP.

NCP’s State unit president Jayant Patil, who was also present at the meeting, said he would not be divulging details of the meeting with Mr. Thackeray, giving rise to speculations on the possibility of a pre-poll alliance between both parties.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2019 10:48:28 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/maharashtra-opposition-leaders-meet-to-discuss-strategy-over-evms/article28752766.ece

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