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Kejriwal doubts EVMs, wants ballot papers in MCD polls

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

After supremo Mayawati, Chief Minister Kejriwal today doubted reliability of electronic voting machines as he sought use of ballot papers in next month's municipal polls in the national capital.

Following a directive from Kejriwal, Chief Secretary M M Kutty, in a letter to the State Commission, asked it to hold the municipal elections through ballot papers.

But the Commission, after announcing that the polls will be held on April 22, said very little time was left to use ballot papers and that certain rules will have to be amended to shun the electronic voting machines (EVMs).

"The chief minister has directed the chief secretary to ask the state office to hold MCD elections through ballot papers," a source in the CM's office said.

The move comes close on the heels of questioning the "reliability" of EVMs. She had alleged that they were tampered with in the Assembly polls, where her party suffered a debacle.

Congress chief Ajay Maken also threw his weight behind Kejriwal as he asked the chief minister to take steps to ensure that EVMs are not used in the elections.

"Many are doubting EVMs-Not prejudiced-nor casting aspersions on results; I want @ArvindKejriwal to hold MCD elections through Ballot Papers," he had tweeted.

State Election Commissioner S K Srivastava said if the Delhi government wants voting through ballot papers, rules will have to be amended first, which he said is a time- consuming process.

AAP's Jarnail Singh, who lost to former Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal from Lambi in the recent elections in that state, also demanded use of ballots in the elections ahead.

"Although we accept defeat, we have serious doubts over the results in Punjab. There are several villages in the Lambi constituency where we have received less votes than the number of volunteers we have there.

"For the first time, voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) was used in Punjab. When we asked the Returning Officer to tally the number of votes to the VVPATs, he declined to do so," Singh said.

AAP sources said there were 33 assembly constituencies in Punjab where VVPAT was used, and that it would ask the poll panel to verify them again with the number of votes received.

They said the party had been "gathering evidence" before it could officially take up the matter with the poll panel.

Where a paper trail audit or VVPAT is used, the counting agent can call for a count of the paper slips in the drop box attached to the voting machine, but the final count is taken by the Returning Officer.

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

First Published: Tue, March 14 2017. 21:42 IST