NPCC bats for VVPAT ballot paper voting system
Dimapur, May 10 (EMN): President of Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee (NPCC), K Therie, has called for a Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) ballot paper voting system, replacing the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) due to their lack of transparency and to avoid vote recording control units.
He said that VVPAT would allow voters to collect print outs of the ballot papers and after verifying the name of the candidate and the symbol stamp, voters can fold and place it in a ballot box in front of the presiding officer.
During a press conference held at Congress Bhavan Dimapur on Tuesday, Therie stated that EVM has been used in India for two decades; and between 2014 and 2018 when the BJP came to power, 19 lakh EVMs were found missing after being supplied by the two state-run EVM manufacturing companies (Bharat Electronics Limited and Electronics Corporation of India Limited) and the Election commission of India (ECI).
Therie said that neither the voter nor the ECI can provide evidence that a vote was not cast in support of the desired candidate.
“It is all speculation, and citizens are no longer satisfied with speculation or make-believe,” he claimed.
Therie also questioned the claims that EVM is tamper-proof as it is built with a one-time programmable/masked chip and that the chip is stand alone, ‘but there is no evidence to support the claims, so they are deemed invalid.’
Therie added that ‘it is simple to duplicate or reconstruct Control Unit, and all data required to construct the unit is available to EVM engineers well ahead of time’.
‘The RTI response to Monoranjan Das, in which 19 lakh EVMs were found missing between State-run EVM manufacturing companies (BEL and ECIL) and the ECI, exacerbated the already-existing trust deficit,’ he said.
The ECI’s inability to “respond convincingly” to the High Court in several hearings over four years regarding the PIL by Monoranjan Das, which is pending in the Bombay High Court, has solidified their suspicions, Therie said.
In addition, he said that the petitioner has filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court requesting that the case be resolved expeditiously.
“The ECI’s argument about voluminous and long ballot paper printing work will not be present; however, in response to the ECI’s argument, there will be no additional expenditure because VVPAT ballot paper will only be used; rather, expenditure will be reduced because a control unit will not be required,” Therie stated.
The NPCC president further stated that there is no evidence to prove that the vote cast through the balloting unit was registered in favour of the preferred candidate when using VVPAT ballot paper voting.
NPCC therefore demanded one-day polling as there is no longer a need for a long campaign.
VVPAT will allow simultaneous counting at the polling station itself, and results can be declared by the returning officer the following day after reporting the results to the RO through the presiding officer’s diary. The diary will be signed by all polling agents, compiling the presiding officer’s report with the counting agents and tabulating the results.
In case there is any re-polling required, it may be conducted in case the winning margin is lower than the said polling station vote, he added.
When asked about the all party government for political solution, Therie stated that the reason for the UDA formation is for “political solution”, but they have never recognised the two official agreements signed between the government of India and NPGs.