The ruling Janata Dal (United) and the Opposition Congress have urged the Election Commission to ensure electronic voting machines (EVMs) are fitted with VVPAT (voter-verifiable paper audit trail) during Lok Sabha polls.
The Election Commission team, headed by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora, was in Bihar on a two-day visit to the State to take stock of parliamentary poll preparedness. The poll panel held deliberations with the Chief Electoral Officer, Bihar and other nodal officers of the State police.
The CEC also met representatives of the various political parties wherein the JD (U) and Congress appealed to him to hold polls with VVPAT-laced EVMs “so that a free and fair election is conducted. The Congress also urged the Election Commission to ensure that SMS messages, related to the location of the polling booth and the electoral number of voters, were sent a day prior to polling.
The BJP demanded that the voters’ slip, distributed by the BLO (booth-level officials) to voters, were not misused.
The RJD, however, pleaded to hold Lok Sabha elections through ballot paper. “During the panchayat polls in Bihar, ballot papers were used and the voters were quite comfortable. We want the Lok Sabha elections be held through ballot papers as they are safe and less vulnerable to tampering,” said Bhola Yadav, RJD MLC and a key aide of Lalu Prasad.
The Left leaders, including those from the CPI, CPM and the CPI-ML, urged the CEC to ensure that the politicians were not allowed to enter the polling booth with their bodyguards.
The poll panel team later also met officials of the Income Tax department, airport, banks, excise and Transport department to chalk out a strategy to curb the flow of black money during Lok Sabha elections.