New Delhi: The municipal election in Delhi should be postponed so that it can be held using ballot papers, said chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday, three weeks before the polls.
Kejriwal had made the demand right after the Punjab state polls results were announced, questioning the reliability of electronic voting machines. But it was rejected by Lt Governor Anil Baijal who cited "time constraints" to effect any change in mode of polling.
On the Election Commission asking the AAP to "introspect" on the reasons behind its performance in Punjab, Kejriwal's caustic response was that he was considering including the EC in his party's decision-making body, the Political Affairs Committee (PAC).
Addressing a press conference at his residence, Kejriwal alleged "widepsread tampering" of EVMs and claimed VVPAT machines from Uttar Pradesh were being brought to conduct the Rajouri Garden bypoll in Delhi. "MCD polls should be held using paper ballots. It should be postponed if time is required to do that," he told reporters.
The state election commission has already declared that the municipal polls will be held on 23 April. "This goes against the norm that EVMs used in one election cannot be used in another for at least 45 days," Kejriwal said.
He has also written to the EC, claiming that experts will prove that the voting machines can be tampered with. "I challenge the ECI to give us 72 hours to prove it," he said.
The AAP chief said in light of reports that even VVPAT machines were not reliable, ballot papers were the "only safe option", which, he said, has been adopted by many western countries.
"The microchips inside the EVMs can be fiddled with. Sophisticated software is being used to do that. But not all machines are tampered, the critical ones are," Kejriwal claimed without elaborating further.
He also claimed that in Madhya Pradesh's Bhind bypolls, the EC is deploying the same EVMs that were used in Uttar Pradesh polls. At Bhind, VVPAT-enabled EVMs were found printing the BJP's poll symbol irrespective of the button pressed during a trial, which the opposition parties latched on to.
Meanwhile, a private English television channel was denied entry in the press conference. The person who stopped the reporter of the channel said he was "merely following orders".
Swaraj India's Yogendra Yadav said he was "ashamed" of the incident. "It amounts to infringement of rights. Information cannot be denied," Yadav said.
Updated Date: Apr 03, 2017 22:10 PM