Parties differ on machine that hides voting pattern: EC | india-news | Hindustan Times
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Parties differ on machine that hides voting pattern: EC

Political parties are split on the introduction of a new machine that prevents disclosure of voting pattern during counting to enhance secrecy, the Election Commission has informed the law ministry.

india Updated: Sep 06, 2016 15:41 IST
PTI
Totaliser machines do not disclose booth-wise results, preventing political parties from knowing which area voted against them.
Totaliser machines do not disclose booth-wise results, preventing political parties from knowing which area voted against them. (AFP File Photo)

Political parties are split on the introduction of a new machine that prevents disclosure of voting pattern during counting to enhance secrecy, the Election Commission has informed the law ministry.

The Commission’s letter to the legislative department in the law ministry is now part of documents before a team of ministers formed last month to take a call on whether the machine should be used in future elections.

While it is learnt that the team of ministers is in favour of the ‘totaliser’ machine, a final decision will be taken by the Union cabinet based on its recommendations.

The five-member team headed by home minister Rajnath Singh was set up on the directions of the Prime Minister’s Office to recommend to the Union cabinet on whether the machines can be used.

The move of the government to set up a team of ministers comes against the backdrop of the Supreme Court asking the Centre to decide on the issue by this month end.

The machine is connected to control unit of electronic voting machines (EVMs) after polling and it gives out an overall result. It does not disclose results booth-wise, thus preventing parties from knowing which area voted against them. When EVMs were not in use, ballot papers from different booths were mixed before counting to conceal voting pattern.

According to the Commission, the Congress, NCP and BSP “categorically” supported its proposal to use ‘totaliser’ machines, while the ruling BJP was of the view that booth-wise performance is important for parties in their booth management.

“The CPI-M agreed in principle to the proposal with the rider that we should be careful regarding the fool-proof functioning of the totaliser and that in may be tried out in phases,” the Commission said.

Referring to a meeting convened by it of recognised national and state parties in March to discuss electoral reforms, including the use of totalisers, the Commission informed the ministry that the CPI did not give any specific view on the use of the new machine.

While the AAP — Delhi’s only recognised state party — supported totaliser, Trinamool Congress — accorded national party status last week — opposed its introduction.