State EC orders 300 machines from M/S Electronic Corporation of India.
Mumbai: In a bid to have free and fair elections, the Maharashtra election commission for the first time plans to introduce Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) system with electronic voting machines (EVM) in the forthcoming Nanded Municipal Corporation poll. The state is going to use 350 VVPATs for the poll.
“The Supreme Court in its order in Dr Subramanian Swamy Vs Election Commission of India has ordered use of VVPAT machines. Acting on the SC order, the state EC has decided to introduce the system in Maharashtra,” an official from the state EC said.
The state government will provide funds to buy the machines, which costs around Rs 23,212 each. Later, the municipal corporations will chip in for the funds. The state EC has already ordered 300 machines from M/S Electronic Corporation of India.
After Assembly polls in 2014, Congress candidate Abhay Chhajed who lost to BJP’s Madhuri Misal had complaint about tampering of EVMs.
He even moved the HC again with a plea to have the EVMs in one of booths checked for tampering. Mr Chhajed had said that he had received fewer votes than expected from booth numbers 185 and 242, which made him suspicious.
Mr Chhajed in his application stated that 89 voters from booth number 185 and 242 have given an affidavit stating that while they had voted for him, the Congress leader actually got only 69 votes from the said booth.
However, the Hyderabad-based forensic science laboratory in May informed the Bombay high court that electronic voting machines used at the two booths in Pune during the 2014 Maharashtra assembly elections were not tampered with.
Pune-based engineer and activist Mukund Lagoo has opposed the idea of VVPAT saying that it won’t serve any purpose.
“It is like registering a vote twice in the system one on EVM and the other on VVPAT. There is no guarantee that both the machines register the same vote correctly. What if vote counts are different on two machines. Also, the government is unnecessarily going to spend a huge amount on the VVPATs,” he said.