SP Reiterates Demand For Ballot Papers Instead Of Evms In Lok Sabha Polls


(MENAFN- IANS) Lucknow, March 1 (IANS) The Samajwadi Party (SP) has told the Election Commission (EC) that people had lost faith in electronic voting machines (EVMs) and ballot papers should be used in the polling.

In a meeting with the EC team on Thursday evening, other opposition parties raised the issue of alleged malfunctioning in EVMs, irregularities in electoral rolls, abuse of government machinery by the ruling party and strict enforcement of the model code of conduct during elections.

SP also raised objection to the EC's directive to the political parties to refrain from using children in election campaigns.

"Elections are considered a festival of our democracy and people of all age groups, including children, participate in the election activities," said Naresh Uttam Patel, SP State President.

The EC team led by Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar is in Lucknow on a three-day visit to review the preparation in Uttar Pradesh for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

The BJP delegation urged the poll panel for checking voters, who arrived at polling booths with their faces covered under burqas or veils, at multiple levels by women staff to curb bogus voting during the Lok Sabha election.

The poll panel was also urged to conduct the polling process under video cameras at all polling booths across the state.

The BJP delegation, including Co-operative Minister J.P.S Rathor, State General Secretary Sanjay Rai and State Convenor Arunkant Tripathi raised the demand for setting up of polling booths in multi-storied buildings and residential societies to ensure participation of maximum voters, proper seating arrangement at polling booths for the elderly and differently-abled voters, transparent electoral rolls and a clear cut guideline for the installation of party flags and wall writing in the Lok Sabha election.

The EC team met the representatives of national and regional political parties, including the Aam Aadmi Party, Bharatiya Janata Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Communist Party of India, Indian National Congress, Apna Dal (Sonelal) and Samajwadi Party in a meeting organised in Yojana Bhawan on Thursday.

The SP State President said, "The EC told us that EVMs will be used in the 2024 Lok Sabha election. The Samajwadi Party will participate in the electoral process and during the counting of votes when a candidate raises demand for recounting of votes then instead of counting slips of five voter verifiable paper audit trails (VVPATs) the EC should order recounting of the slips of all the VVPATs."

The SP also drew the attention of the EC toward irregularities in electoral rolls in Uttar Pradesh. During the revision of voters' lists, 30.85 lakh names of the voters had been removed while the names of 57.29 lakh voters had been added. Today, there were 15.3 crore voters in Uttar Pradesh.

"We told the panel that names of the supporters of the SP have been deleted from the voters' lists. The anomalies in the voters' lists should be corrected before the poll," Patel added.

Congress delegation, including Deputy leader of the party in the Rajya Sabha, Pramod Tiwari, former MP P.L. Punia and Congress Legislature Party leader Aradhana Misra Mona raised the issue of abuse of official machinery by the ruling BJP in the coming Lok Sabha election, uniformity in voters' lists and deletion of names of voters during the revision of electoral roll.

The Congress delegation also expressed dissatisfaction over the reply of the Uttar Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) on the complaint lodged by the party regarding the fire in the strong room of the election warehouse in Farrukhabad district in which several EVMs were destroyed.

The Congress leaders said that large scale transfer of administrative and police officers was being carried out before the start of the election process with the aim of misusing election machinery during the poll. The transfers of officers should be stopped immediately and those made in the past three months should be reviewed by the EC.

The BSP delegation led by State unit President Vishwanath Pal raised the demand for strict measures to conduct free and fair polling during the Lok Sabha election.

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