West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said all Opposition parties should come together to demand the use of ballot papers in elections instead of electronic voting machines, PTI reported. She demanded a fact-finding committee to find out details about voting machines.
“We have to save the democracy,” Banerjee told reporters after meeting Trinamool Congress legislators and ministers to discuss the party’s loss in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections. “We do not want machines, we demand a return to the ballot paper system. We will start a movement and it will be initiated from Bengal. I will ask all the 23 political parties in the Opposition to come together and demand the return to ballot papers. Even a country like the US has banned EVMs.”
Banerjee accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of using money, “muscle”, institutions, media, and the government to win the elections.
Banerjee, one of the key faces of the Opposition, led an aggressive campaign against the saffron party in West Bengal. However, the BJP won 18 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state and 303 of the 542 seats nationally. After the results, she the Trinamool Congress chief claimed she had offered to resign from the post of chief minister but her party had rejected it. She also alleged that electronic voting machines were tampered with during the elections.
A day after the election results, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati also accused the BJP of “hijacking” the election process by tampering with electronic voting machines.
Opposition parties have repeatedly expressed doubts about the credibility of electronic voting machines in the last two years. Two days before the counting of votes, representatives of 22 Opposition parties met the Election Commission to reiterate their demand that Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail slips of randomly selected polling stations be verified before counting of votes. The Election Commission, however, refused to change the process of the counting.