Oppn parties to pitch for paper ballots at EC meeting today

NEW DELHI: Many Opposition parties will reiterate their demand for paper ballots  for future elections, among other things, in a meeting with the Election Commission of India  on Monday.

The EC has called the meeting with seven national and 51 state recognised political parties to  discuss various electoral issues such as electoral rolls, limiting political parties’ expenditure and  timely submission of annual audited reports by parties among other things.

At least 17 parties, including the NDA ally Shiv Sena, have been pitching for returning to ballot  papers.

These include Congress, Trinamool Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party, Janata Dal-Secular, Telugu Desam Party, Nationalist Congress Party, Samajwadi Party, Communist Party of India-Marxist, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Communist Party of India, YSR Congress, Kerala Congress-Mani  and All India United Democratic Front.

“We will raise the issue of ballot papers in the meeting for fair and impartial elections. We want to make it clear that we do not consider EVMs as tamper proof,” an Opposition leader told IANS.

“Secondly, we would point out that the election expenses of political parties must also be limited  along with the candidates,” he added.

Although the EC in its official agenda of the meet released to the press has not mentioned  simultaneous polls, the issue is likely to come up for discussion.

A majority of Opposition parties have already told the Law Commission that they do not consider  this proposal as practical or desirable.

The agenda for the meeting includes discussion on how to improve “accuracy, transparency and  inclusiveness” of electoral rolls, measures to encourage enhanced representation of women in  political process, issues related to expenditure ceiling for parties, timely submission of annual  audited reports and election expenditure reports among other things. Also on the agenda are alternative modes of voting for domestic migrants and absentee voters.

nt

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