Opposition in Maharashtra pushes for consensus on return to paper ballots | Mint
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Business News/ Politics / News/  Opposition in Maharashtra pushes for consensus on return to paper ballots
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Opposition in Maharashtra pushes for consensus on return to paper ballots

In his meeting with Sonia, Raj Thackeray had asked her to lead a nationwide campaign against the use of EVMs
  • Raj Thackeray had asked Gandhi to lead a nationwide campaign against the use of EVMs
  • MNS chief Raj Thackeray with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi last week.Premium
    MNS chief Raj Thackeray with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi last week.

    Opposition parties in Maharashtra are weighing the option of boycotting this year’s state assembly polls to force a return to paper ballots.

    The suggestion came up during the meeting between former Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray last week. The two parties are considering stitching together an alliance in the state.

    “MNS chief Raj Thackeray believes that there is a genuine threat to Indian democracy because of the use of electronic voting machine (EVMs) because there is scope for the machine being misused," said MNS general secretary Anil Shidore who attended the meeting with Gandhi said.

    Shidore added that nationwide debates or discussions over possible misuse of EVMs may not be the answer, saying drastic measures should be taken by opposition parties to force the Election Commission to accept paper ballots.

    “We believe that till the time a drastic step is taken against EVMs, which includes possibly boycotting the upcoming assembly elections in the state by all opposition parties, the Union government will not take the suggestion seriously made by opposition parties. We are not saying this is the only step, but we should consider all options," said Shidore.

    A senior Congress leader from Maharashtra confirmed the development. “Thackeray has suggested ‘ballot or boycott’ to Sonia. As the largest opposition party, now it is up to us as to how we want to take this ahead. There have been genuine concerns which need to be looked into," he said, requesting anonymity.

    Thackeray had also asked Gandhi to lead a nationwide campaign against the use of EVMs and try to build a consensus among political parties to take similar steps across the country.

    “We have decided to talk to other political parties as well and try to form a consensus on the issue. We have also asked Sonia Gandhi that the Congress leadership should start discussions with other opposition parties so that there is a larger consensus among the opposition," Shidore added.

    anuja@livemint.com

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    Published: 15 Jul 2019, 10:44 PM IST
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