Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee on Sunday termed the recently held general election as a ‘mystery’ and not ‘history’ and demanded that the ballot papers be brought back.
Addressing a huge rally on ‘Shahid Divas’ (Martyrs' Day) at Esplanade in Kolkata, Banerjee said, “The last Lok Sabha election was not a history but a mystery. How can it be possible that the BJP achieved the figures it had predicted? I have serious doubts about the poll results.”
“The BJP is making its presence in Bengal through money power, central forces and EVMs (electronic voting machines). It won the Lok Sabha election by cheating. I would like to tell them (BJP leaders) that in the coming assembly election, they will lose everything. They are selling the country. Earlier, their slogan was ‘Khelo India’ and now their slogan is ‘Becho India (sell India)”.
Demanding reintroduction of the ballot system, she said, “I am in favour of electoral reforms and have been fighting for it since 1995. If we have to stop the flow of black money, save democracy and ensure transparency of political parties during elections, then electoral reforms are a must. State funding of political parties is of utmost need to bring about the required reforms. Why should parties raise money? Why should there be black money? Several of the countries that had introduced EVMs for elections, like England, US, Germany and France, have gone back to ballots. Since there are so many complaints, why not bring back ballots? Therefore, we are saying: ‘Save democracy – we want ballots, not questionable EVMs. Let us go back to ballots.”
Hinting at holding the upcoming municipal elections in Bengal, the Trinamool Congress supremo said, “We will show why it is necessary to bring back the ballot system.”
Mamata has been raising serious questions over the credibility of EVM and demanding that a committee be set up to look into the matter.
Days ago, she had said, “Unreliability of EVMs was raised several times by political leaders. Even, we believe in this. Why we should not believe that some of the EVMs were not programmed (to benefit the BJP). In some places, the EVMs were not functioning (during voting) and it was replaced but did it work properly? Who knows that it was not programmed? Therefore, I would like to request all the Opposition party leaders to raise the demand for a fact-finding committee to know the truth.”