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Akhilesh asks parties to oppose use of EVMs in elections

A day after malfunctioning electronic voting machines marred the Kairana Lok Sabha and Noorpur assembly by-polls in Uttar Pradesh, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday called for ballot paper voting because EVMs are a ‘threat to democracy’.

lucknow Updated: May 29, 2018 23:38 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Akhilesh Yadav,BSP,Samajwadi Party
At a press conference at the state headquarters of the party, he also urged all opposition parties to unite against the use EVMs in elections.(HT Photo)

A day after malfunctioning electronic voting machines (EVMs) marred the Kairana Lok Sabha and Noorpur assembly by-polls in Uttar Pradesh, Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday called for ballot paper voting because EVMs are a ‘threat to democracy’.

At a press conference at the state headquarters of the party, he also urged all opposition parties to unite against the use EVMs in elections.

“The SP has been demanding ballot-paper voting as the party and the people do not have faith in EVMs. Earlier, we had called an all-party meeting against the EVMs. The Congress did not attend it but now it is also raising voice against EVMs. We appeal to the Congress and all other parties to unite against EVMs,” Akhilesh said.

“Voting through EVMs is a threat to democracy. The glitches and technical snags that occurred yesterday (in Kairana and Noorpur by-polls) were a part of a strategy as EVMs failed in those places where the SP, the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), and alliance parties have a strong support base,” he said.

Akhilesh, however, said the alliance would win both the seats as the people had voted against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“BJP did not fulfil any of its poll promises. Its loan waiver was a huge disappointment and betrayal to farmers. Even on sugarcane dues, the BJP government has let down the farmers. It tells the people how much cane payments the government has made but stays silent on the amount of massive arrears,” he added.

The Samajwadi Party chief also questioned the inauguration of Meerut-Delhi expressway shortly before polling. “Though the Supreme Court had asked the government to do it quickly but Prime Minister Narendra Modi made it a roadshow and chief minister Yogi too joined it,” Akhilesh said.

NEED TIME TO VACATE GOVT BUNGALOW

When asked if he and his father Mulayam Singh Yadav, who too is a former UP CM, would vacate government houses following Supreme Court directives, Akhilesh said: “We are willing to vacate it but as of now, neither Netaji (Mulayam) nor I have a house in Lucknow. We, in our review petitions, have sought some time to vacate the houses.”

Akhilesh said he would contest the 2019 Lok Sabha election but refused to confirm if the constituency would be Kannauj which is considered a safe seat.

The SP chief is no longer a legislator. From 2000 to April 2018, Akhilesh had been a legislator – from 2000-2012 as an MP and from 2012 till April 2018 as an MLC. Akhilesh has already said that his wife

Dimple Yadav, who is a member of Parliament from Kannauj, will not contest elections this time.

According to senior SP leaders, Akhilesh is likely to contest from Kannauj again mainly because it is a pocket borough of the party. It has remained with the Samajwadi Party since 1998 through seven polls. Akhilesh won the seat through by-poll in 2000, then again in 2004 and 2009.

After taking over as CM in 2012, Akhilesh vacated the seat. Dimple won the by-poll in 2012 and again in 2014.

First Published: May 29, 2018 15:52 IST