EC all-party meeting: Stacked against EVMs, opposition parties seek return to ballot for 2019 Lok Sabha election

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The Election Commission on Monday conducted a meeting with a number of political parties ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in 2019 where many opposition parties raised their concerns over the efficacy of EVMs and VVPATs in conducting fair and transparent polls. The commission said it has noted the concerns raised by parties on electronic machines and will take appropriate steps to improve the conduct of elections after due examination. Speaking about the meeting, CEC OP Rawat said that all political parties were positive and suggested a number of measures for improvement in electoral processes. The Commission will take all the suggestions, examine and whatever needs to be done to improve the delivery of elections will be done, Some of the parties said going back to the ballot is bad as it would bring back booth capturing, Rawat added. Just ahead of the meeting today, the Congress party wrote a letter to the poll panel reiterating its demand that the 2019 general elections be conducted using ballot papers rather than EVMs in the interest of transparency in elections. The Congress is not the only party that has been expressing concern over faulty EVMs in the country. Other parties which have expressed similar concerns are Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Trinamool Congress (TMC), Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Samajwadi Party (SP), Communist Party of India (CPI), Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), YSR Congress, Kerala Congress-Mani (KCM). NDA ally Shiv Sena has also raised doubts on the efficacy of EVMs. Last Friday, The EC in its press release said that it had been holding discussions with all recognised political parties across the country in order to get their views on important issues.