New Delhi, April 29: Amid the ongoing debate over the alleged rigging of electronic voting machines (EVMs) used for polls, the Election Commission of India decided to convene an all party meeting to address the doubts among the political outfits. The meeting would be called soon, said Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Naseem Zaidi. He further added that the polling body intends to use voter verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines for all upcoming elections, in order to address the doubts among a section of political parties and voters. Also Read - Bihar Assembly Election 2020: Check Voting Date In Your Constituency
VVPAT machines could be used for all upcoming elections, the CEC was reported as saying by PTI. He further added that order has been placed with Bharat Electronics Ltd and Electronic Corporation of India for procuring VVPAT machines. In the past week, Centre cleared Rs 3,174 crores for the procurement of 16 lakh odd VVPAT machines. Also Read - 'I Apologise... Just Forgot the Name': Kamal Nath Explains 'Item' Jibe After Controversy, EC Takes Note
However, the upgraded machines were expected to be delivered by September 2018. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had claimed that the 2019 Lok Sabha elections would be conducted through the use of VVPAT machines on pan-India level. Also Read - Bypolls to One Lok Sabha, 56 Assembly Seats on November 3, 7; Results on Nov 10: Election Commission
The controversy involving the incumbent set of EVMs first came to light after the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), after being reduced to its lowest tally ever in past two decades, alleged tampering of EVMs. “The EVM machines were rigged. This is a huge betrayal of electorate in the democracy. The BSP was the most widely voted party. There was no reason for us to lose in such a manner,” BSP supremo Mayawati had said.
The most recent charge of EVM rigging was levelled by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who initially attributed the EVMs for the loss of AAP in the MCD elections. “People of Delhi are appreciating the work done by AAP. Everyone was distressed by the 10 years of misrule of BJP in MCD. The results that have emerged appears to be the result of EVMs being rigged,” said Kejriwal’s close aide Ashish Khetan.
Although a section of Opposition, including AAP, had initially demanded the polling body to switch back to ballot papers, they later altered their stand, seeking the upgradation of EVMs to VVPAT equipped machines.