We are not returning to era of ballot papers: CEC

New Delhi: Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) of India Sunil Arora today said that the Election Commission (EC) is not thinking to return to ballot papers at all during the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Addressing an event in Delhi, the CEC said: ‘I would like to make it very clear that we are not going back to the era of ballot papers.’

‘We will continue to use EVMs & VVPATs. We are open to any criticism & feedback from any stakeholder including political parties. At the same time, we are not going to be intimidated, bullied or coerced into giving up these and start era of ballot papers,’ he was quoted as saying by ANI. On 8 January, the CEC had said that electronic voting machines (EVMs) are tamper-proof and there is nothing to doubt about the integrity of the system.

He had also remarked that a highly-qualified technical committee was looking after the entire functioning of EVMs. The CEC had stressed that nobody can approach, influence or coax the members of the committee. The CEC did not take the name of any political party but he did target the parties who keep raising issues about EVMs by saying that these days people are talking a lot about EVMs. Commenting on the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, the CEC had said that the EC will make all efforts to hold a free, fair, impartial and ethical election.

The CEC also held a meeting with chief electoral officers (CEOs) of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh on 7 January to review poll preparedness for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. He also held a seperate meeting with top officials of the civil and police administration to hold discussions over this matter. Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh have 13, 10 and 1 Lok Sabha seats, respectively.