Patna: Opposing the Congress’s request of bringing back ballot papers for 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the ruling Janata Dal (United) has reminded the Election Commission (EC) of how polls were rigged and booths captured amid large-scale violence in the nineties when Lalu Prasad Yadav was at the helm of affairs.
Participating in an all-party meeting called by the EC, JD(U) general secretary Sanjay Jha supported the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) with Voters Verifiable Paper Trail (VVPAT) for all elections, saying the demand for ballot paper by non-BJP parties reflects fear as they do not find themselves on strong footing.
"There is no doubt that all apprehensions related to EVMs should be sorted out and matching the vote with VVPAT is a good example. This demand was made by the Opposition earlier. Unfortunately, they continue to drive in the reverse gear," Jha said.
Referring to large-scale killings on the days of voting in Bihar in nineties, Jha said, "Bihar is a stark example (of the violence). Everybody knows how booths were captured and a large number of voters were used to keep out of the democratic process by dominant classes and voting would get completed before 11am. We just don't want to go back to that era.”
Interestingly, Lalu's Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) — out of power since 2005 when EVMs were used for the first time in all polling stations — has been against the use of EVMs, citing possible interference with the machine in favour of a particular party. But the party did not send any representative to attend Monday’s meeting.
The Congress has claimed that over 70 percent political parties have asked the EC to replace Electronic Voting Machines. But apart from the Shiv Sena, all NDA constituents led by the BJP have spoken in favour of the EVMs for fair and impartial elections.