RJD urges EC to revert to voting through ballot papers, junk EVMs

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Patna: The opposition RJD in Bihar on Tuesday urged the Election Commission to consider reverting to the old practice of ballot papers, in place of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), "to ensure free and fair polls".


The party made a request to the effect before an EC delegation, headed by Chief Election Commissioner Rajeev Kumar, which interacted with representatives of political parties on the second day of its three-day tour of the state.

According to the party's representation, signed by state vice president Vrishan Patel, state spokesperson Chitaranjan Gagan and state general secretary Mukund Singh, elections ought to be conducted through ballot papers to ensure transparency.

However, the party also said that as long as EVMs remained in use, it must be ensured that VVPAT slips were shown to respective voters after casting of votes and these were kept in a sealed box until counting.


The RJD also demanded that votes garnered through postal ballot must always be counted before EVMs.

The party also raised a number of other demands like demarcation of sensitive polling booths in consultation with an all-party delegation and ensuring that voters of weaker sections, like Dalits and tribals, exercised their franchise.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's JD(U) sought streamlining of polling in the state, and claimed that holding these in a staggered manner caused a lot of problems.


"We urged the EC to do away with the practice of holding elections in Bihar in seven phases. It puts more burden on the state's resources. We have requested that polling be completed in the state in not more than three phases," said Rajiv Ranjan Singh ‘Lalan’, the JD(U)'s former national president, who headed a party delegation which met the EC.

Concerns on EVMs were also raised by CPI(ML) Liberation and CPI(M), both alliance partners of the RJD.

The CPI(ML) Liberation said in a statement that the party sought voting through EVMs and also flagged low voter turnout in "areas dominated by feudal lords", setting up of voting booths in localities inhabited by Dalits and other weaker sections of the society, and, in case of proper buildings being unavailable in such places, establishment of "mobile polling stations".

The CPI(M) flagged a newspaper report in which it was claimed that the company manufacturing EVMs had three directors on its board with "close BJP links" which compromised the EC's ability to hold impartial elections.

According to a CPI(M) statement, the party also urged the EC to intervene and restrain central agencies like ED and CBI which were allegedly "terrorising" opponents of the ruling BJP at the Centre.