Maharashtra Opposition leaders to march together against EVMs on August 21
“Any party will not use its name or flag in this agitation. We will all march with the Tricolour. This is a movement by people who want transparency in the electoral system,” said Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray, who has taken the lead on the issue.Updated: Aug 03, 2019, 06:43 IST
All Opposition parties in Maharashtra will hold a massive rally on August 21 to protest the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and demand the reintroduction of paper ballot system. They will also go door-to-door requesting people to fill forms demanding reintroduction of the paper ballot system and submit it to the Election Commission (EC).
“Any party will not use its name or flag in this agitation. We will all march with the Tricolour. This is a movement by people who want transparency in the electoral system,” said Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray, who has taken the lead on the issue.
He urged the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena to participate in it. “If the BJP is so confident of victory, it should support our campaign for ballot papers. We will welcome if they emerge victorious through the ballot paper system,” he said.
Top opposition party leaders namely Ajit Pawar and Chhagan Bhujbal of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Balasaheb Thorat who heads the Congress in Maharashtra, Raju Shetti of Swabhimaani Shetkari Sanghatana, Jayant Patil of Peasants and Workers Party, and Sudhir Sawant of AAP addressed the media conference.
Thorat also termed the Lok Sabha election results shocking. “The entire country was surprised and now people are doubting the system. It is the responsibility of the Election Commission and the government to clear the issue. We are asking for the paper ballot,” said Thorat.
Bhujbal said, “When developed countries like the US and Japan, which developed this technology, abandoned this system, why is India sticking to it?” To which, Thackeray added, “How can we trust the EVM chips made in a foreign country [the US]? In 371 constituencies, there were more votes during counting than that were polled.”
The state EC defended itself saying the machines are tamperproof. “We take all precautions to ensure fair polls and there is nothing suspicious in the EVMs. Moreover, it ensures a clear system and even the results are faster,” said a SEC official.
Thackeray has been meeting Opposition leaders namely UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to seek their support for the ballot paper demand. Reacting to the developments, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis asked the Opposition to introspect. “They ruled for 10 years after being elected through EVMs. They need to realise that voters have rejected them as they have been cheating the people for years. This morcha is actually an insult to the people who have given us their mandate,” said Fadnavis.