State unit of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Thursday wrote to the State Election Commission (SEC) seeking ballot paper voting in ongoing municipal body elections in Uttar Pradesh over the use of faulty electronic voting machines (EVM). In a press conference in Lucknow, the state unit raised doubts on the working of the election commission alleging it to being a ‘puppet’ in the hands of the ruling state government.
The party based its request on the number of incidents in first phase voting on November 22 where faulty EVMs allegedly were producing results in favour of only the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
“The election commission (EC) needs to restore people’s faith and drop EVMs in the next two phases of voting in the state. When the municipal council and town municipality elections in UP are being done through ballot paper, why can’t the same mode be followed for municipal corporation elections” read the letter.
Addressing the media, state spokesperson, Vaibhav Maheshwari said, “The EC has itself said that the EVMs are of 2006 model, too old and unreliable. Despite that, the same unstable EVMs are being used and it is detrimental to democracy if it is being done under state government’s pressure.” He added, “Why aren’t there any FIRs being registered in these malfunctioning cases?”
The letter also claims that as many as 77 incidents of malfunctioning EVMs have been documented as complaint with the SEC in the first phase of voting on November 22, which raises questions of EVM tampering.
Sabhajeet Singh, another state spokesperson of the party from Faizabad, who was also present on the day recounted his experience of the voting in Faizabad on Thursday. “Machines for voting the corporator and the mayor were connected to one another and only when you pressed buttons on both machines together, would your vote be cast. This is impractical for a handicap person and also forced upon those voters who might not wish to vote for either of the two posts.”