The Telegraph
Sunday , January 22 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Court view adds teeth to Assam Opp. ballot cry

Guwahati, Jan. 21: The recent observation by Delhi High Court that electronic voting machines (EVMs) are not “tamper-proof” today has added teeth to the demand of the Opposition AGP and BJP in Assam to replace them with ballots.

The demand was aired soon after the humiliating defeat in the last Assembly elections, in which the Congress had won 78 seats while the AGP and BJP managed to bag only 10 and five seats respectively. The two parties felt that without tampering EVMs, the ruling Congress-BPF combine would not have got so many seats.

AGP president Chandra Mohan Patowary demanded that the Election Commission should take note of the high court’s observation and take steps against the use of EVMs. “We had earlier moved the commission against the use of EVMs and the Delhi High Court has made a similar observation. We are against the use of EVMs and demand steps against their use in future elections to be held in the state,” Patowary said in a news conference at the AGP headquarters here at Ambari.

“Many developed countries have already decided to do away with EVMs. We have already expressed suspicion that the Congress had won the last Assembly elections by tampering with the EVMs and not because of development as was claimed by the government. We will continue to put pressure on the commission against the use of EVMs in the state,” Patowary said.

AGP general secretary Hitendra Nath Goswami said, “Some Congress leaders and ministers have even admitted before us in private that the EVMs helped them in the last Assembly elections.”

The BJP, too, joined the chorus against EVMs and said they would continue to oppose its use. The executive body meeting of the state BJP, organised today at Sarusajai sports complex here, said they would oppose any move to use EVMs in the panchayat elections, likely to be held next year.

After the victory in the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council poll, government spokesperson Himanta Biswa Sarma had taken a dig at the Opposition, saying that the Congress would continue to win elections, irrespective of EVMs or ballot.

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