Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora rejects demand to hold Maharashtra assembly polls using ballot papers

फाइल फोटो: मुख्य चुनाव आयुक्त सुनील अरोड़ा

Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora on Wednesday said that Electronic Voting Machines, popularly known as EVMs, could malfunction but they were tamper-proof.

Sunil Arora

Speaking to reporters at the end of his visit to Maharashtra, where assembly polls are due later this year, Arora said, “Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) cannot be tampered. EVMs can malfunction but cannot be tampered.”

Arora also said that some political parties in Maharashtra had requested him to hold this year’s assembly polls using ballot papers but he said that this was not possible. News agency ANI quoted him as saying, “Few political parties have asked about voting through ballot paper. We have told them it is not possible, its history now.”

The CEC said that some political parties in the state wanted the assembly polls to be held after Diwali. Parts of Maharashtra including Sangli, Satara and Kolhapur districts were recently ravaged by floods. Arora said that the EC will consider ‘sympathetically’ if there was a ‘need-based case for something.’

Arora had travelled to Mumbai on Tuesday to review the poll preparedness in the state. The special Election Commission team led by him returned to Delhi on Wednesday.

The term of the 288-member Maharashtra assembly ends on 9 November. The Election Commission may announce the dates for Haryana and Maharashtra polls together in the next few days.

The BJP, which has governments in both Haryana and Maharashtra, will be aiming to retain its power in the coming assembly polls. However, there are already some differences over the seat-sharing arrangements between the saffron party and the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra.

The BJP had performed exceptionally well in both the states in this year’s Lok Sabha polls, held in May this year.