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Parties want EC to enhance confidence on EVM use

Last Updated: Monday, October 4, 2010 - 18:10

New Delhi: Political parties Monday said
the Election Commission should take steps to enhance the
confidence of people on use of Electronic Voting Machines
(EVMs) in polls in view of apprehensions that they could be
tampered with.

Attending a meeting of political parties convened by
the Commission, the main opposition BJP made a strong plea to
go for a "paper trail".

BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said his party
suggested a paper trail as an acknowledgement that the
vote has been cast in favour of a particular candidate.

"Like EVMs were started as a pilot project, this
concept should be launched in a small constituency... the EC
should work on it," he said.

Congress leader Jayanthi Natarajan, however, said the
paper trail should only be accessed with the permission of the
court in case of a complaint. "Even the EC should not access
it without the permission of the court," she said.

Natarajan said suggestions to improve EVMs are
understandable but said Congress supported its use.

CPI leader D Raja suggested enhancing the confidence
of people on EVM use and said the EC should take steps to
strengthen the system as some doubts have been expressed.

CPI-M`s Nilotpal Basu said the party raised the mater
before the EC and the manufacturers of the machines which have
been clarified.

"To ally the fears, whatever needs to be done should
be done," he said.

During the meeting, the leaders also suggested that
the Election Commission device mechanism to curb the practice
of paid news, criminalisation of politics along with use of
muscle and money power in elections.

"We had a very fruitful and productive discussion. All
parties had almost similar views on these issues," Natarajan
told reporters after the meeting.

Raja said, "Money power is a menace and is subverting
the system. For paid news, media houses have to make a code as
it could affect a fair and free election...every political
party will have to make a code on how to select candidates to
prevent criminalisation of politics."

He also suggested that EC should seize "unaccounted
money" and stop freebies to check money power in elections.

Basu echoed similar sentiments, saying paid news
phenomenon was infringing electoral process.

"EC should take whatever legal steps which are
necessary to address the issue," the CPI-M leader said.

Leaders agreed that against the backdrop of a code
suggested by the Press Council of India on paid news, the EC
should set a up an expert body to tackle the issue.

PTI



First Published: Monday, October 4, 2010 - 18:10

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