A day after a large number of faulty EVMs and VVPATs were reported during voting for bypolls in Uttar Pradesh, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday raised the pitch in favour of the restoration of voting through ballot paper.
He said common people no longer trusted the EVMs, which were proving to be a “threat to democracy”.
“Our demand is that all elections in future should be conducted through ballot paper. Ballot paper will strengthen democracy and increase public trust,” Mr. Yadav told reporters here.
He said he would consult other non-BJP parties, including the Congress, to further strengthen his demand for ballot paper and rejection of EVM.
Mr. Yadav alleged that the EVMs and VVPATs in the Kairana Lok Sabha and Noorpur Assembly bypolls were deliberately made faulty in the strongholds of the BJP’s opponents as part of a “strategy” to ensure the BJP’s victory.
“It was their strategy to spoil the machines in areas where the SP-RLD (Rashtriya Lok Dal) alliance had more votes. The BJP knows that the poor, youth and farmers have rejected it,” Mr. Yadav said.
The former U.P. CM rejected the Election Commission’s argument that heat may have played a role in the malfunctioning of a large number of the machines.
“Why only in booths where the SP and RLD had votes? Was it cold elsewhere,” Mr. Yadav asked.
As per the office of U.P. CEO, three ballot units, three control units and 384 VVPATs were replaced after receiving complaints of faults in Kairana and Noorpur on Monday.
A total of 2,651 EVM control units, 2,651 ballot units and 2,596 VVPATs were deployed in the two bypolls.
The RLD’s candidate in Kairana, Tabassum Hasan, wrote to the Chief Election Commissioner complaining about malfunctioning EVMs and VVPATs in the constituency. Despite raising the flag, the administration was not dealing with the issue and voters were being deliberately deprived of their right, she wrote.
As per her complaint, EVM-related snags were reported in around 140 booths across all the five Assembly segments in Kairana. RLD leader Jayant Chaudhary said: “So many malfunctioning EVMs point to some sort of systematic anarchy!”