A Shiv Sena delegation met state election commissioner Neela Satyanarayan on Monday to protest against the usage of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the upcoming civic polls to be held in 10 civic corporations and 167 councils.
The Sena demanded that the EVMs be withdrawn because they were faulty. It also opposed plans to begin online voting.
Satyanarayan however turned down their request regarding the EVMs.
“The machines the Sena is referring to were used in the previous elections. We are using a different brand of machines this time,” said Satyanarayan.
“I have asked the Sena to get an expert to show me where the fault lies,” she added.
Regarding e-voting, Satyanarayan said the new system was meant for those who are unable to vote because of physical or other constraints. She added the system will not be introduced unless there was unanimity over the same. “We are going to give demonstrations to various stakeholders including political parties to show how it works. It will have to be started in the future so why not get ready for the same,” she added.
Shiv Sena spokesperson and general secretary Anil Desai who was part of the delegation said voters who use the EVM have no way to verify whom they have voted for.
“Countries like Europe and USA used this system before but have switched back to the ballot paper system. Also, online voting cannot be trusted because of the increase in cyber crime,” Desai said.
The Sena lost the legislative elections of 2009 where EVMs had been used.
However, when asked why the Sena did not speak up when the same EVMs were used in the 2007 civic elections, which the Sena won, MLC and Sena spokesperson Neelam Gorhe, who was part of the delegation, said, “That is not true. Even before the 2009 elections, we raised the issue along with the Opposition at the Centre and with the central election commission. We have always wanted the system to be scrapped.”