Amid renewed demands against the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs), Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora yesterday asserted that the Election Commission is not going back to ballot papers.
EVMs are being used as a "football" due to a "motivated slugfest", he said. "I would like to make it very, very clear one more time that we are not going back to the era of ballot papers," Arora said, addressing a gathering ahead of National Voters Day.
He said the poll panel would not take the country back to an era where ballot papers were lifted by musclemen.
"We are open to any criticism and feedback. But we are not going to be bullied. We are going to keep using EVMs," he said using strong words to defend the machines.
Earlier, the Election Commission had approached the Delhi Police seeking probe against Syed Shuja, the US-based person who claimed that the EVMs were tampered with in 2014 parliamentary polls. Shuja made the claim at a press conference held in London on Monday via video-conferencing. The Delhi Police has registered an FIR regarding allegations of hacking of EVMs and rigging of polls.
Following Shuja's press conference, BSP chief Mayawati had asked the Election Commission to revert to ballot papers in 2019 Lok Sabha elections to ensure free and fair polls. Her new ally, Akhilesh Yadav, the SP president, too echoed the sentiment saying that reliability of the EVMs had come under the question.
The Congress also sought clarification from the Election Commission over the claims made by Shuja. However, the BJP and the JD(U) backed continued use of the EVMs in elections.