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After Mayawati, Arvind Kejriwal says ‘no’ to EVMs, request ballot papers in MCD polls

Amid growing chorus questioning the reliability of electronic voting machines (EVMs), Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has directed chief secretary MM Kutty to write to the state election commissioner asking him to hold the upcoming municipal elections through ballot papers.

“The state government recommendation comes following requests from several political parties to hold local body polls through ballot paper, as is done in many states,” an AAP functionary said.

“The chief minister has directed the chief secretary to ask the state election office to hold MCD elections through ballot papers,” a source in the CM’s office said.

The move comes close on the heels of Mayawati questioning the “reliability” of electronic voting machines (EVMs). She had alleged that they were tampered with in the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, where her party suffered a debacle.

“Serious doubts have cropped up in the minds of voters as to the free and fair nature of electoral process. We demand that these elections should be held using the traditional ballot system,” he wrote.

The demands from Kejriwal and Maken came days after BSP supremo Mayawati had openly questioned the reliability of EVMs after BJP’s historic victory in Uttar Pradesh assembly elections.

The BJP leaders have been criticising such demands arguing that if EVMs could be tampered in favour of the ruling party at the Centre, how did Mahagathbandhan (coalition of JD (U), RJD and Congress in Bihar) and AAP recorded clean sweep in Bihar and Delhi assembly elections in 2015.

AAP’s Jarnail Singh, who lost to former Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal from Lambi, also demanded use of ballots in the elections ahead.
“Although we accept defeat, we have serious doubts over the results in Punjab. There are several villages in the Lambi constituency where we have received less votes than the number of volunteers we have there.

“For the first time, voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) was used in Punjab. When we asked the Returning Officer to tally the number of votes to the VVPATs, he declined to do so,” Singh said.

Though, the AAP leadership has desisted from attributing the party’s loss in Punjab to faulty EVMs, Kejriwal retweeted former co-worker Prashant Bhushan’s tweet targetting BJP on the issue on Tuesday.

“Those who screamed “democracy at risk due to EVMs” while in opposition, are now celebrating “democracy by EVMs”, once in power,” Bhushan tweeted.

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