Opposition unites to seek scrapping of EVMs, return to ballot papers

Citing examples of countries like Japan and Germany which use paper ballots despite having technology far more advanced than India's, the Congress on Tuesday emphasised using ballot paper instead of using the electronic system of voting, saying they have faith in the Election Commission of India (ECI), but not in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).

"We have all referred to the global best practices where the overwhelming majority of democracies in the world are not using electronic voting system. The country from where the chip is coming, Japan itself is not using the EVMs. There were only eight countries in Europe which opted for electronic machines and six have fallen back including Germany where the Supreme Court has come out with a strong indictment," Congress leader Anand Sharma said.

Accusing the central government of tampering with EVMs, Sharma said this government has refused to give the money for a verifiable paper trail that raises a fundamental question about the intent of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government.

Echoing these views, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Majeed Memon said all leaders of opposition parties leaders are unanimously addressing the commission with regard to the lack of faith in EVM functioning.

"The EC has heard each political party and the grievances were unanimous. Now, the Election Commission has assured us before winding up that an all-party meeting will be convened soon and they will seriously examine our grievances against the electronic system," Memom told ANI.

In the meeting with the Election Commission on Tuesday, a team of top opposition leaders put forward their demand before the ECI for using ballot papers instead of EVMs in upcoming elections in view of alleged tampering.

Among those present at today's strategy meeting held at Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad's chamber in Parliament included Congress leaders Ahmed Patel, Anand Sharma, Kapil Sibal and Vivek Tankha, besides Janata Dal (United) (JD(U)) leader Ali Anwar Ansari, Trinamool Congress leader Sukhendu Sekhar Roy, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Satish Misra and Samajwadi Party leader Neeraj Shekhar.

NCP leader Majeed Memon, Communist Party of India leader D. Raja and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader J.P. Narain Yadav were also present during the meeting and all strongly raised the issue with the ECI.