Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal on Thursday rejected the demand of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for holding municipal elections in the state by using ballot papers and not Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).
The Delhi L-G on informed Kejriwal that changing of mode of polling was not feasible at this stage due to time constraint.
Anil Baijal pointed out that the rules will have to be amended for shunning the EVMs and it was not possible to make the changes as little over a month is left for the polls.
In the backdrop of AAP’s poor showing in assembly polls in Punjab, Kejriwal on Wednesday alleged that it could be due to EVM tampering and pitched for holding the 22 April municipal polls using ballot papers.
Kejriwal’s allegations came as BSP supremo Mayawati, who had made similar claims after her party was decimated in the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, said that she will move court against the alleged tampering of EVMs.
The Election Commission has rubbished the allegations of EVM tampering as “wild and baseless”.
Kejriwal had even requested Baijal to call a meeting of political parties and the state election commission to explore the possibility of using ballot papers in the civic polls.
Baijal said that it is not possible to amend the existing rules to hold municipal corporations elections at a time when polls dates have already been announced by the State Election Commission. All three civic bodies polls will be held on 22 April and the results will come out on 25 April.
Kejriwal had also reportedly met Baijal yesterday and requested him to approve his proposal.
The Lt Governor stated that it is not feasible to hold elections to all three civic bodies through ballot papers. Rules cannot be amended at this stage when poll dates were announced, the sources in LG’s secretariat said.
The LG has also cited that voting through ballot papers requires huge logistical support and, hence, “it would not be possible for him to agree to the proposal”, they said.
Earlier this week, state election commissioner S.K. Srivastava had also said that the commission had started the preparations for the polls keeping in mind the use of EVMs only.
Srivastava said that if the Delhi government wants voting through ballot papers, rules have to be amended first, which was a time-consuming exercise.
On the CM’s allegations of EVM tampering, the Lt Governor’s view is that there has been no instance of tampering of the EVMs in the past.
The sources added that the L-G has told the CM that MCD elections had also been held in 2007 and 2012 as also the bypoll in 2016 using EVMs.
Kejriwal had alleged that EVM tampering in Punjab could be part of a conspiracy to keep the AAP out of power in the state.
The AAP chief, whose party won 20 seats in the 117-member Assembly with a vote share of 24.9%, had also claimed that around 20 to 25% of its votes may have been “transferred” to the SAD-BJP coalition, which finished third.
(With PTI inputs)