Congress leader Manish Tewari calls for removal of EVMs, bringing back paper ballots in 2019 polls

New Delhi: Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari on Monday voiced support to the demand for doing away with electronic voting machines (EVMs) and called for "serious efforts" to ensure that paper ballots were used in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

Democracy was "too precious" to be left to technology, he said, while pointing out that several countries had gone back to paper ballots.

"All right-thinking people, who believe that if certain people do not come back (to power) in 2019, democracy will survive, should make serious efforts to ensure that the election in 2019 are held on ballots," Tiwari said at a debate on EVMs, organised by an NGO.

 Congress leader Manish Tewari calls for removal of EVMs, bringing back paper ballots in 2019 polls

File image of Congress leader Manish Tiwari. AFP

Instead of looking for a "middle path" like voter-verifiable paper audit trails (VVPATs), the effort should be to go back to the ballots because the EVMs were destroying the "trust" the people had in the democratic system, the Congress leader said.

Senior CPM leader Nilotpal Basu said the demand for going back to paper ballots should be a part of electoral reforms that were needed in the country.

Stating that the purity of the electoral process was fundamental, he said, "There cannot be unanimity on all the issues, but there should be a consensus on certain points."

Many social and political activists, including those from the JD(S), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), participated in the debate.

Rebel JD(U) leader Ali Anwar said people had a "suspicion" as regards the EVMs.

The speakers strongly opposed the use of EVMs in elections as they could be tampered with and demanded going back to the paper ballot system.

"We wrote to the Election Commission, demanding paper ballots and making it clear that we were against EVMs. But the political parties are sleeping over the issue," charged Danish, a JD(S) leader from Karnataka.

RJD leader Naval Kishor Yadav suggested that the political parties should raise a demand for a 100-percent counting of VVPAT slips in 10 percent constituencies in every election.

The speakers also called for a consistent movement to demand the replacement of the EVMs with ballot papers in elections.

Updated Date: Feb 19, 2018 21:07:42 IST