Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal reiterates demand to defer MCD polls
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday reiterated his demand for postponing the municipal elections in the National Capital Territory (NCT) so that it could be held later on using ballot papers.
Kejriwal had first made this demand after his party was trounced in Punjab Assembly polls.
After AAP’s defeat in Punjab polls, Kejriwal had raised questions over the reliability of the electronic voting machines (EVMs).
However, his demand was rejected by Lt Governor Anil Baijal who cited "time constraints" to effect any change in mode of polling.
On the Election Commission asking the AAP to "introspect" on the reasons behind its performance in Punjab, Kejriwal's caustic response was that he was considering including the EC in his party's decision-making body, the Political Affairs Committee (PAC).
Addressing a press conference at his residence, Kejriwal alleged "widepsread tampering" of EVMs and claimed VVPAT machines from Uttar Pradesh were being brought to conduct the Rajouri Garden bypoll in Delhi.
"MCD polls should be held using paper ballots. It should be postponed if time is required to do that," he told reporters.
The State Election Commission has already declared that the municipal polls will be held on April 23.
"This goes against the norm that EVMs used in one election cannot be used in another for at least 45 days," the CM said.
He has also written to the EC claiming that "our experts" will prove that the voting machines can be tampered with. "I challenge the ECI to give us 72 hours to prove it".
The AAP chief said in light of reports that even VVPAT machines were not reliable, ballot papers were the "only safe option", which, he said, has been adopted by many western countries.
"The microchips inside the EVMs can be fiddled with.
Sophisticated software is being used to do that. But not all machines are tampered, the critical ones are," Kejriwal claimed without elaborating further.
He also claimed that in Madhya Pradesh's Bhind bypolls, the EC is deploying the same EVMs that were used in Uttar Pradesh polls.
At Bhind, VVPAT-enabled EVMs were found printing the BJP's poll symbol irrespective of the button pressed during a trial, which the opposition parties latched on to.
Meanwhile, a private English television channel was denied entry in the press conference. The person who stopped the reporter of the channel said he was "merely following orders".
Swaraj India's Yogendra Yadav said he was "ashamed" of the incident. "It amounts to infringement of rights. Information cannot be denied.
(With IANS inputs)