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Opposition parties reject simultaneous polls, demand ballot paper back

ANI | Updated: Jul 03, 2019 20:24 IST

New Delhi [India], July 3 (ANI): Opposition parties on Wednesday rejected government's call for "One Nation, One Election" and demanded that the ballot papers must be brought back to restore the faith of people in country's electoral system.
"EVMs have been a very huge problem. We must not conclude or think if you are anti-EVM you are against technology. When the technology does not guarantee perfection then you need to question the technology. We want ballot papers," Derek O'Brien of Trinamool Congress said initiating the Short Duration Discussion on Electoral Reforms in Rajya Sabha.
He listed several issues in the present electoral system, including interruptions of international companies during polls, misuse of data, social media and EVMs.
"It's time we legislate on electoral reforms," he said suggesting to amend the Constitution or bring legislation as to how the election commissioners are appointed.
Seeking to introduce Data Protection Bill, O'Brien said: "the issue of electoral reforms has been discussed many times in the Upper House but nothing has happened on it."
"We have to debate, deliberate and it's time we also legislate on electoral reforms," the Rajya Sabha MP said. O'Brien urged the government to discuss One Nation, One Election with experts.
"Our view is that let's not rush into something. Discuss with constitutional experts and electoral experts, circulate a white paper and the get the political parties involved," he said.
Congress too opposed the "One Nation, One Poll" and slammed the election commission's role during the Lok Sabha elections.
"The Election Commission is part of the problem," Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal said quoting the poll panel's advisory which was issued in March prior to the Lok Sabha elections curbing the politicisation of the Indian Army in the polls.
He pointed out how votes were gathered in the name of Indian soldiers.
"The Election Commission was sleeping during LS polls," said Sibal inviting uproar from BJP members.
The Congress leader also criticised the massive spending during the recent Lok Sabha elections.
Citing a private agency's report he said over Rs 60,000 crore were spent during the elections.
"Almost 45 per cent of the amount was spent by BJP. We should investigate if the source was black or white money," he said.
He cited examples of several European countries that have banned the EVMs and said his party's opposition to EVMs was "in principle".
Samajwadi Party's Ram Gopal Yadav said EVMs may or may not be rigged, but the people do not trust it."To restore the confidence of the people, it is necessary that we should get back to the ballot paper," he said.
He suggested that the list of voters for gram panchayats and municipality elections should be used for the Assembly and Lok Sabha polls."This will ensure that no votes are missed," Yadav said.
The senior SP leader also suggested that government at centre and states should resign six months ahead of the polls for free and fair elections in the country.
"Six months before the elections, the respective state governments should resign. A national government at the Centre and an advisory committee of three high court judges in the states should help govern the states," he said.
Speaking On 'One Nation, One Election', Yadav said that despite being in poll mode every two years, the development of America stays unaffected.
CPI's D Raja urged the house to go for a collegium to appoint election commissioners and opposed simultaneous polls as "unconstitutional".
"We should think of having proportional representation system with the candidate and party lists as a mixed system," he said.
Satish Chandra Misra of BSP too opposed conduct of elections through EVMs. "Ballot system should be brought back," he said. (ANI)