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Ministers reject EC bid for device to hide voting trends

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Feb 18, 2017, 7:13 am IST
Updated : Feb 18, 2017, 7:17 am IST

Prior to the introduction of EVMs, ballot papers from different polling booths were manually mixed thoroughly to conceal the voting pattern.

The EC had convened a meeting of political parties in March 2016 to discuss electoral reforms, including the use of “totalisers”.
 The EC had convened a meeting of political parties in March 2016 to discuss electoral reforms, including the use of “totalisers”.

New Delhi: A group of ministers (GoM), headed by Union home minister Rajnath Singh, has turned down an Election Commission proposal for introducing a machine which prevents disclosing voting trends during counting.

Even though details and exact reasons for rejecting the use of the “totaliser’’ were not known, the GoM decision has been conveyed by the law ministry to Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi. The Prime Minister’s Office had set up a five-member GoM headed by the home minister to examine the Commission’s proposal and give its recommendation to the Union Cabinet. 

The “totalisers’’ are meant to be attached to the main control units of EVMs after the polling process is over, and it only gives the overall result, rather than giving booth-wise data. The move would have prevented political parties from knowing which particular locality voted against them during elections.

Prior to the introduction of EVMs, ballot papers from different polling booths were manually mixed thoroughly to conceal the voting pattern. There were divergent views among political parties also on the introduction of the machines that would have prevented revealing the voting pattern and result of a particular booth.

The EC had convened a meeting of political parties in March 2016 to discuss electoral reforms, including the use of “totalisers”. The EC claimed that while the Congress, the NCP and the BSP supported the proposal for “totalisers”, the BJP was of the opinion that the present arrangement was important as it helped political parties to improve booth management.

``The CPI(M) agreed in principle to the proposal with the rider that we should be careful regarding the fool-proof functioning of the ``totaliser’’ and that it may be tried out in phases,” the Commission had informed the Law Ministry following the March meeting.

Similarly, the Aam Admi Party had supported the use of ``totaliser’’ while Tinamool Congress had opposed the move.

Tags: election commission, nasim zaidi, rajnath singh
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi