EC assures satisfactory solution to concerns on reliability of electronic voting machines at all-party meeting

The Election Commission has said, it will provide satisfactory solution to the concerns raised by political parties on the reliability of electronic voting machines (EVMs).

The  Commission today held a meeting in New Delhi with recognised national and state political parties where  several political outfits pitched for returning to the ballot paper system.  Briefing reporters after the meeting, Chief Election Commissioner O P Rawat said, some of the parties told that going back to ballot will not be good as it will  bring back booth capturing. He said, all political parties have given positive and constructive  suggestions  to further improve the integrity of elections and  the Commission will examine the suggestions and take steps accordingly.

In the meeting, several opposition parties raised the issues of EVM tampering and technical glitches in the voter verifiable paper (VVPAT) system. Official sources said, the representatives of the Congress, Samajwadi Party,  BSP and the Trinamool Congress were among those who raised these issues and many of them also suggested going back to the ballot paper system.

Earlier in his opening remarks, the  Chief Election Commissioner  urged the representatives of political parties to put forward their views on important issues like  transparency in political funding, media management including that of social media, bringing in trust and confidence  in  voting and counting process. He mentioned about the challenges faced by all the democracies globally in view of the new media and advancements in information technology. Mr. Rawat  said the Commission is taking initiatives to prevent such interference.

During the meeting,  the political parties urged the Commission that the free airtime to political parties should be provided on private media for electoral campaigns. They also suggested for a ceiling on expenditure limit for council elections.

The poll panel convened the meeting ahead of elections to several state assemblies later this year and the Lok Sabha polls scheduled for early next year. It has been periodically holding consultation meetings with all recognized political parties to elicit their views on various important issues.  All 7 National parties and 34 State parties attended the meeting.

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