Cong writes to Election Commission expressing concern over non-use of VVPAT
THE VOICE OF CHANDIGARH: Chandigarh Congress sent a letter to State Election Commission Chandigarh expressing its grave concern at non-use of VVPAT in the ensuing Chandigarh Municipal Corporation Election-2021. The party also objected to the distribution of EVMs in strong rooms scattered all over the city, 13 days before the election day.
In the letter, Subhash Chawla President Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee stated that denial of use of VVPAT machines with EVM CUs and also the proposed use of out-dated M -2 EVMs for voting to be held on 24 December 2021 is causing anxiety among the enlightened voters of Chandigarh.
It was also stated that the Supreme Court of India has time and again stressed the need to assure the electorates about the legitimacy and impartiality of the electoral process. A slight lapse on this account was enough to erode the confidence of the voters in the veracity of the electoral process.
It further stated that the State Election Commission has allowed the use of VVPAT in the local body elections in West Bengal scheduled to be held on 19 December, 2021. This has been done to inculcate confidence among the voters of Bengal about the truthfulness of the electoral process. Surprisingly, the State Election Commission here has ordered the use of EVMs without VVPAT in ensuring Chandigarh Municipal Corporation Elections, 2021.
Meanwhile a delegation of Chandigarh Congress also met Mr. K. Bhandari OSD to the State Election Commissioner on Monday and complained about non-use of VVPAT with the EVMs despite overwhelming demand of the voters of Chandigarh and sought reasons for doing so. But the State Election Commission could not explain to why the VVPAT is not being used to ensure transparency in the electoral process.
The letter said that another matter of concern was that the State Election Commission is using obsolete and M-2 type EVM machines for the voting process, which were in use prior to 2006. It was appreciated in the communique that M-2 EVMs could be used if there was a shortage of sophisticated M-3 EVMs attached with inbuilt VVPAT.
Mr. Chawla explained that when at present the local body’s elections are being held only in Bengal and Chandigarh, there ought not to be any shortage of the latest M-3 EVMs. Therefore, it is quite intriguing that despite the easy availability of sophisticated M-3 EVMs, the Election Commission has decided to use the obsolete M-2 EVMs and that too without VVPATs. Such a decision has been taken arbitrarily without taking into account the need to demonstrate the fairness and impartiality of the elections among the electorate.
Letter also said that Chandigarh Congress is also concerned at the fact that the State Election Commission has refused to follow the past practice of keeping all the EVMs pertaining to all the wards at one central and secured strong room. It was easy for the political parties to guard the EVMs located at one place. However, the State Election Commission has surprisingly decided to keep the EVMs in different locations all over the city making it difficult for the parties to guard them.
It was affirmed that the Chandigarh Congress has very high stakes in ensuring a transparent, free and fair electoral process to elect the next Municipal Corporation in Chandigarh.
Finally, the Chandigarh Congress put forth its demands that the latest M-3 type EVMs should be used with inbuilt or separate VVAPTs in the ensuing Elections to Chandigarh Municipal Corporation and all the EVMs pertaining to all 35 wards of Chandigarh be kept in only one central strong soon, so that the EVMs can be guarded properly and apprehensions regarding any suspected tampering of the machines scattered all over the city are ruled out.