The Election Commission on Monday revoked its decision to hold elections for 10 Rajya Sabha seats on June 8 because of the presidential elections in July and the electronic voting machine ‘hackathon’ on June 3, PTI reported. The elections are being conducted as 10 members are nearing the end of their tenure.
On May 16, the Election Commission had announced that election for six Rajya Sabha seats from West Bengal, three from Gujarat and one from Goa was scheduled for June 8. However, the commission has not announced any new date. “The Commission will announce the programme for holding biennial election to the Council of states from Goa, Gujarat and West Bengal in due course,” the commission’s statement on Monday said.
The commission made the decision as secretaries of legislative assemblies are notified as returning officers for Rajya Sabha elections and they also serve as assistant returning officers for presidential elections. The panel also did not want political parties to have to choose between participating in the EVM challenge scheduled for June 3 and the election, Mint reported.
The election regulatory body has offered an opportunity to political parties to prove that the devices are vulnerable to tampering. “Besides the Commission has invited the recognised political parties to prove before the Commission, from June 3, the allegations that the VVPAT and EVMs could be tampered with and this will divert the attention of some of the parties who may like to participate in the challenge,” the commission said.
Out of the 10 retiring members, four are from Trinamool Congress, three from Congress, two from the Bharaitya Janata Party and one from the CPM. The retiring members include Union minister Smriti Irani, Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury and Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien.