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BSP demands electoral reforms, ballot paper

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The Election Commission came under sharp criticsm from the BSP and TMC in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, with its members demanding electoral reforms and future elections on ballot paper and not EVMs.

The BJP, however, countered those opposing the EC saying raising questions on the poll body was like pointing fingers at the Constitution.

BSP member Satish Chandra Misra accused the EC of allying with the NDA and said the ruling dispensation in the President's speech has rightly thanked the EC.

He alleged that the EC not only supported the BJP, but went to the extent of "merging itself" with the party by the time elections were over.

"It is being said that earlier EC was extending support (to BJP) from outside, but by the time elections were held, it merged with the BJP. Earlier, we thought we are fighting the BJP, media, CBI and ED together, now EC has also been included in the list. But, people will question you," he said while participating in the debate.

TMC member Derek O'Brien also attacked the EC and demanded sweeping electoral reforms saying that there should be a collegium to appoint the election commissioner. He sought reintroduction of paper ballot.

He called for state funding for the political parties to provide level playing field to all contestants during the elections.

Misra said electroral reforms are very necessary and should be brought in early, as the ruling party - be it the Congress earlier and the BJP now - have misused the CBI and other agencies.

"Elections should be held on ballot paper henceforth. If there was no wrongdoing in EVM functioning, how come the BJP loses whenever elections are held on ballot paper, but wins when EVMs are used," he said asking what magic did BJP possess with itself.

The BSP leader alleged that the manner in which this government was functioning, "democracy was being murdered" in the country under the BJP.

He also alleged that attrocities on Dalits were continuing and they are working towards ending reservation in the country.

Misra also accused the ruling party of selling out valuable assets of the country by "repaying" those who have funded them in elections.

The two opposition leaders were countered by BJP member R K Shukla, who said "raising questions at the Election Commission was like pointing fingers at the constitutional institutions and the Constitution.

"Some went to the extent of going to London to question the EC and EVMs and brought down the prestige of the country world-wide. This was a cheap gimmick and should be condemned," he said.

The BJP leader urged members to remain within decorum and not use objectionable words that brings the image of Parliament down in the eyes of the people.

He said the best thing that has happened in this election is ending the division of people on the basis of religion, caste and region.

AAP member Sanjay Singh lamented that the 'New India' under BJP is seeing mob lynchings and joblessness rising to its 45-year high.

He also lamented that slogans on the basis of religion were raised in Parliament, which were never seen before. He said Parliament was the place for protection of Constitution and not a centre of religion.

Congress member L Hanumanthaiah lamented that nothing was spoken about welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the President's address, even though they comprise 25 per cent of the population.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, June 25 2019. 21:00 IST
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