Imphal, March 16: Non-Congress parties in Manipur today kicked off a “movement” against the use of electronic voting machines to save democracy, alleging that the voting machines were manipulated by those in power for electoral gains.
The parties in an open discussion held here today resolved to launch a district-wise movement in the state to force the Election Commission to stop using the voting machines in Manipur in the future.
The discussion, sponsored by the Manipur unit of the All India Trade Union Congress was attended by 11 political parties including the BJP, CPI, NCP, Trinamul Congress and regional parties like Manipur Peoples Party and Naga Peoples Front.
The demand for rejection of voting machines came after the ruling Congress swept the recently concluded state Assembly election by winning 42 of 60 seats.
The leaders of the non-Congress parties expressed strong suspicion that the Congress won so many seats only because the party in power manipulated the voting machines after the polling was over. They said voting machines did not reach the deputy commissioners’ office on time.
Major parties like the Manipur Peoples Party, CPI and BJP could not win even a single seat in this election.
The NCP, one of the major Opposition parties in the last term, could win only one seat.
The meeting also resolved to move the Supreme Court against further use of the voting machines in Manipur.
The meeting warned the Election Commission that the parties would not participate in the 2014 Parliament elections should the Election Commission continue to use voting machines in the state.
“Every sections of society expressed surprise at the results of the election and have suspicions that something was done to let the Congress have a landslide victory,” Moirangthem Nara Singh, the president of the trade union Congress and state secretary, CPI, initiating the discussion.
L. Jatra Singh, Manipur Peoples Party candidate, who lost to Landhoni Devi, wife of chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh, said police commandos moved around carrying voting machines in the wee hours of January 28, the polling day in his constituency of Khangabok and neighbouring Thoubal constituency which was retained by Ibobi Singh.
Jatra Singh, an engineer, has done some research on voting machines said votes could be transferred by manipulating the voting machines.