Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Saturday claimed that the Election Commission works at the behest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Naidu made the remark after meeting Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora at the poll panel’s headquarters in New Delhi, The Print reported.
The chief minister claimed that 30%-40% of electronic voting machines did not work during polling for the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh on April 11. “The government of India is interfering through the Election Commission,” he told reporters, according to ANI. “We have complained against EVMs earlier also. Election Commission is an autonomous body but they are working at the instructions of Modi.”
Naidu also claimed that the poll body’s decision to transfer several government officials in Andhra Pradesh before the elections was unjustified. He expressed dissatisfaction with the Election Commission’s responses to him during his meeting with Arora on Saturday.
Naidu also called for a return to the use of paper ballots. “We demand the Election Commission of India revert to the paper ballot system immediately to preserve the sanctity and protect the spirit of electoral process and democracy respectively,” he said, according to the Hindustan Times.
Polling in Andhra Pradesh continued till midnight on April 11, amid technical glitches in the EVMs and violent incidents. Naidu had also written a letter to Arora, demanding a re-poll in 150 booths.
“The inept handling of the Election Commission forced the voters to return home, depriving them of the right to exercise their franchise,” he had claimed in the letter. “The Election Commission, instead of focusing on its prime duty of election conduction process, tried to be hyperactive in transferring the administrative officers on the frivolous complaints of the YSR Congress Party and paralyzed the machinery.”