The April 22 MCD polls in Delhi will be held with EVMs as Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal turned down chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s request to amend rules and conduct the civic polls using ballot papers.
Officials said, in a communication to the Delhi government, the L-G has said that the change of the mode of polling was not feasible due to time constraint. “It would not be possible to agree to the proposal to amend the rules at this stage when the dates have already been announced,” the communique from L-G office said.
Sources said even though a written communication was sent to the government, L-G had conveyed the concerns to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal when the latter had called on him on Wednesday.
Kejriwal wrote to Baijal on Wednesday, seeking amendment in rules, in the light of allegations of discrepancy in votes cast and votes registered in the recently held Punjab assembly elections. Kejriwal had argued in the letter that in case the L-G holds a different view, he could convene an all-party meeting to discuss the issue.
“The government has been informed that change in the mode of election would require huge logistics. Also, the rules cannot be amended at this stage when poll dates have already been announced and lots of preparations been made,” an official said.
Officials said the government was also reminded about the state election commission’s argument that general elections for municipal corporations have been conducted in a free and fair manner in the city using EVMs in 2007 and 2012.
Kejriwal had directed chief secretary MM Kutty on Tuesday to write to the state election commission, asking it to hold the upcoming municipal elections through ballot papers.
The Delhi Congress had also written to the chief minister, requesting use of ballot papers in the upcoming elections instead of EVMs.
Allegations of rigging of EVMs were first levelled by BSP supremo Mayawati after her party was decimated in Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, getting just 19 seats in the 403-member assembly.
Introduced in 1982, EVMs fast-tracked India’s electoral process. Counting that used to take days is now a matter of hours.
All states had switched to EVMs by 2000. The 2004 poll was the first general election in which EVMs, manufactured by government-owned Bharat Heavy Electricals and Electronic Corporation of India, were used.