EC all-party meeting: No EVMs, Congress reiterates demand for 2019 Lok Sabha elections on ballot paper

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With Election Commission convening an all-party meeting today, the Congress party is believed to have written to the poll panel reiterating its demand that the 2019 Lok Sabha elections be conducted using ballot papers instead of EVMs. The main Opposition partys letter to the commission comes as part of its request to hold the general elections in a transparent manner, news agency ANI said, citing sources. The EC is likely to discuss poll preparedness across the country during the meeting. The Congress is not the only party which has raised doubts over faulty EVMs in the country. Other parties expressing similar concerns include Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S), Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Trinamool Congress (TMC), Samajwadi Party (SP), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Communist Party of India (CPI), YSR Congress, All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), Kerala Congress Mani (KCM). On a number of occasions, even NDA ally Shiv Sena has raised doubts on the efficacy of EVMs in conducting fair polls. A number of Opposition parties are expected to raise doubts against EVMs during their meeting with poll commission officials. As many as seven national parties and 51 regional parties will meet today. About 17 political parties have once again raised their demands that the 2019 Lok Sabha polls be held on ballot papers rather than EVMs. In its press release last Friday, the commission said that it had been holding consultations with all recognised political parties in the country so as to get their views on the important issue, which would also help to improve election process in the country. The Commission would look to get views of political parties on steps to further improve the accuracy, transparency and inclusivity of electoral rolls in the next general elections, the commission said in its press release. It also said that apart from the issue of fidelity of electoral rolls, ideas are also invited on steps that different political parties can work on to increase women representation within the organisational structure of the party as well as in the candidate selection for elections to legislative bodies. Issues related to regulation, election expenditure, expenditure ceiling for legislative council polls may also be discussed.