The Election Commission’s move to use Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) to end doubts over the authenticity of EVMs is not convincing yet, with political parties in poll-bound Meghalaya demanding reintroduction of ballot papers in the upcoming Assembly polls.
Representatives of almost all political parties raised doubts before the Chief Election Commissioner, A.K. Joti who is on a two-day visit to Meghalaya to review poll preparedness in the state.
The political parties questioned the decision of the ECI to count votes recorded in EVM and slips generated by VVPAT only from one polling booth from each constituency instead of counting all polling stations.
There are 3,082 polling booths in Meghalaya spread across the 60 Assembly segments.
The political parties like the Nationalist Congress Party, United Democratic Party, and Khun Hynñiewtrep National Awakening Movement were vocal on this issue and demanded using of ballot papers since EVMs can be tampered with.
NCP Meghalaya state general secretary, S.P. Thapa said that votes recorded in EVMs and slips generated by VVPATs should be counted in all polling booths especially when the number of voters in one constituency is just within 30,000.
“The ECI has decided to use VVPAT where voters can verify whether they cast their vote in favour of the candidate of their choice or not. But they told us that votes recorded in EVMs and slips generated by VVPATs in all polling stations would not be counted. If they are not counting votes from all polling stations, it makes more suspicion that something fishy is going on,” Thapa said.
The political parties stressed that votes in EVMs should tally with slips generated by VVPATs in all polling stations.
However, the ECI team told political parties that all EVMs are tampered proof, and the Commission would consider the need to prove that votes recorded in EVMs tally with slips generated by VVPATs only when there are complaints.