Samajwadi Party calls meeting to generate Opposition unity on EVM issue; Congress, BSP stay away

A meeting called by Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav to bring together Opposition parties on the issue of using ballot papers instead of EVMs in elections saw ally Congress and Mayawati's BSP staying away.

The meeting called by Yadav at the Janeshwar Mishra Trust office to discuss the issue was attended by senior leaders of his party as well as representatives of NCP, CPI, CPM, Apna Dal (Krishna Patel faction), Peace Party, AAP, RLD and RJD. "There was also a communication from the BSP and Congress representatives that they will not be able to attend the meeting because of some preoccupation," Samajwadi Party spokesman Rajendra Chaudahry said.

File image of Akhilesh Yadav. PTI

File image of Akhilesh Yadav. PTI

"BSP state unit president Ram Achal Rajbhar called to say that he is unable to attend the meeting, but his party has already expressed its views against EVMs. UPCC president Raj Babbar informed that he was out of station today," Chaudhary said.

On discussions held during the meeting, Chaudhary said all the parties, barring CPM, were of the view that all future elections should be held through the ballot papers. "The CPM said that it will have to discuss the issue with its national leadership," he said.

"All agreed that there are flaws in the conduct of elections through the EVMs and the VVPAT were also not being used," Chaudhary said. "The impartiality of the electoral system is proved only when people have faith in it... besides the use of EVMs
is not easy for the countrymen, as they do not understand its working," Chaudhary added.

The SP president had initiated efforts to mobilise opinion among different political parties for holding elections using ballot paper instead of EVMs and had invited their leaders.

The move was also seen as an effort to evolve consensus on holding bye-elections to Phulpur and Gorakhpur Lok Sabha constituencies through ballot paper and send out a message of Opposition unity ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

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Updated Date: Jan 06, 2018 20:46:38 IST

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