The Gujarat Congress on Friday urged the Election Commission (ECI) to use ballot papers instead of the electronic voting machines (EVMs) in theupcoming by-elections to eight Assembly seats in the state to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The EC is yet to announce the dates for the bypolls.
In a letter sent to the Chief Election Commissioner on Friday, senior Congress MLA and Deputy Leader of Opposition Shailesh Parmar said that voting through ballot paper is thebest option in the prevailing coronavirus situation.
"Every constituency normally has 2 lakh voters. Around1,000 voters come to a single booth to cast their votes. If EVMs are used, thousands of voters will touch one button. "If a coronavirus-infected person touches that button, everyone who pushes it afterwards would contract theinfection," Parmar said in the letter.
"Asymptomatic persons do not know that they arecoronavirus positive. But others are at risk if they come in their contact. Hence, to stop people from getting infected, Iurge you to opt for ballot paper instead of EVMs for the by-election to eight assembly seats," he said.
Meanwhile, the Gujarat BJP said in a statement that the party and its cadres were ready to face the election. "It is upto the EC to decide when it wants to hold by-election to these eight seats. It's a democratic procedureto hold election on a seat within six months of an MLA's resignation. But the EC should also take into considerationthe prevailing coronavirus situation in the state," Gujarat BJP spokesperson Bharat Pandya said.
"No matter when the elections are scheduled, the BJP is ready because our workers always remain amongst people toserve them. We are confident of winning all the eight seats," he said. In March, when Rajya Sabha election for three seats was declared, five Congress MLAs had resigned. The RS pollslater got postponed. When the election was scheduled for June, three more Congress MLAs had resigned. Of these eight, five have already joined the ruling BJP.