Satya Pal Malik, Kapil Sibal voice concerns over EVMs, call for counting of VVPAT slips : The Tribune India

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Satya Pal Malik, Kapil Sibal voice concerns over EVMs, call for counting of VVPAT slips

BJP to remain in power till the EVMs in current form are used in the elections

Satya Pal Malik, Kapil Sibal voice concerns over EVMs, call for counting of VVPAT slips

Satya Pal Malik, in a conversation with Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal on the latter’s YouTube show ‘Dil Se’, said the opposition should make a big issue on the use of the EVMs in the polls and alleged that the EC was not looking into the matter as it was “under pressure”. PTI Photo



PTI

New Delhi, January 5

Former Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik, on Friday, said Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would remain in power till the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in current form are used in the elections and called for counting of the Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips.

Malik, who is known for being critical of the BJP government, in a conversation with Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal on the latter’s YouTube show ‘Dil Se’, said the opposition should make a big issue on the use of the EVMs in the polls and alleged that the Election Commission (EC) was not looking into the matter as it was “under pressure”.

The remarks come at a time when several opposition leaders have voiced doubts about the integrity of functioning of the EVMs and demanded that the VVPAT slips be handed over to the voters, who could drop it in a separate box.

Dismissing Jairam Ramesh’s concerns on the EVMs, the EC in response to the Congress leader has expressed ‘full faith in the use of the EVMs in the elections’ and made it clear that the latest updated frequently asked questions answer ‘adequately and comprehensively’ all reasonable and legitimate aspects on the use of the EVMs in the elections.

According to the EC, mandatory verification of printed VVPAT slips of five randomly selected polling stations of each assembly constituency or segment is done in case of the election to the House of the People before declaring the results.

To Sibal’s question on concerns about the BJP bagging the number of seats it predicts for itself, Malik said, “I want to tell you my hunch is that till this machine system goes away, the BJP cannot be removed from power. Opposition should seriously take action on this issue.”    

With Sibal pointing out that the EC was asking those raising doubts how the EVMs could be manipulated, Malik said many people have done it and claimed that he had seen a man do it.

“That demand of the EC is wrong. When we are suspicious of it and there is a doubt, so why don’t you get polls done with the ballot paper?” Malik asked the poll body.

Sibal argued that the right to vote is the basis of democracy and it is unconstitutional if a machine decides the mandate.

“If I have a doubt and I want to know whether my vote has been cast to the desired person or not, it is my constitutional right to know. The EC does not agree to this and the court also does not agree to this,” the former Congress leader said.

“I can’t say that there has been manipulation, but if people have a doubt then what is the harm in counting the VVPATs,” Sibal added.

Both agreed that VVPAT slips should be handed over and put in the ballot boxes which can then be counted.

Asked why the EC was not acting on the concerns raised over the EVMs, Malik alleged that the poll body was “under pressure” and suggested that the opposition should make a big issue about this.

To Sibal’s query about the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA), Malik said it needs to get its act together and not focus on small issues such as Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) President Nitish Kumar’s bid for becoming the convenor of the alliance.

He said that the opposition alliance could still get its act together.

“Even five days are enough. If they act correctly, things will change,” he said.

Sibal said he feels that the INDIA bloc should have a secretariat and spokesperson.

#BJP #Jammu #Kapil Sibal #Kashmir #Satya Pal Malik


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