EVM row: CPI (M) demands use of VVPAT to be made universal

New Delhi [India] Apr. 13 : Supporting the use of the Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) equipped with the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in the election process, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Thursday said the use of the machines should be made universal so that the voters feel satisfied with the polling system.

"We have been demanding that the VVPAT should be universal. That is the only guarantee for the voter to satisfy himself that their vote has been properly cast. So we want that VVPAT should be 100 percent and that is the only way in which this fear and these allegations can be settled," CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury told ANI.

He further said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Government has not been releasing the required funds to the Election Commission in order to convert all the EVMs to be equipped with the VVPAT.

"This has been our demand some years ago. The Election Commission then accepted and they started the process of VVPAT. This was commissioned for the 20 per cent of the machines," he added. Yechury said that the Election Commission must call an all-party meeting and take all the political parties on board on how to proceed with the coming elections.

The Supreme Court earlier in the day issued notice to the Election Commission and Centre seeking their response by May 8 in the plea filed by Samajwadi Party lawmaker Ataur Rehman challenging the use of the EVMs in the elections without equipping them with the VVPAT.

Rehman had filed the plea seeking elections be conducted with the EVMs equipped with VVPAT. Rehman had asked for directions to be given to the Election Commission to stop using the EVMs without the VVPAT format and instead adopt ballot system for the upcoming elections till the time EVMs were equipped with VVPAT provision.

The apex court heard similar pleas on the same today. It also heard opposition parties' plea seeking an investigation into the EVM tampering row. The hearing in the same will next take place on May 8. Earlier in March, the apex court had issued a notice to the Election Commission over a petition on the alleged tampering of the EVMs during the recent assembly elections in five states.

Source: ANI