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Congress MP Manish Tewari demands to conduct 2024 polls on paper ballots

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New Delhi [India]: The Congress voiced fresh misgivings over the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), with its Lok Sabha member Manish Tewari saying on Saturday that votes in the general elections next year should be cast via paper ballots. He said the exercise that defines the country’s democratic character shouldn’t be hostage to technology.

Speaking to medi on Saturday, the Congress leader said, “Democracy is too precious to be left to technology. The question is not whether the EVMs are manipulated.

It is whether the EVMs could be manipulated. I believe that is reason enough to return to paper ballots for next year’s Lok Sabha elections. The point is simple: the electronic voting machine is, at the end of the day, just a machine. And, like any machine, it could be rigged, hacked and played around with,” Tewari said.

He said even countries that adopted EVMs have gone back to paper ballots, saying that the devices could be “interfered with”.

“I do not understand the paternalistic obsession of the Election Commission with electronic voting machines. Even countries that had adopted EVMs have gone back to paper ballots for the simple reason that they can be interfered with. So, taking this into consideration, the votes in the 2024 (Lok Sabha) elections should be cast through paper ballots,” he added.

Earlier, taking to his official handle on X, Tewari urged the Opposition bloc — INDIA — to include the holding of next year’s elections through paper ballots as part of its agenda and push for its implementation.

“I had raised a response to an RTI answered by @ECISVEEPin the Lok Sabha where it had said it does not have the source Code of the EVMs.

It is quixotic that the owners of the machines affirm that they do not know the source code of the machines they deploy but yet vouch for their integrity. INDIA alliance should make a return to paper ballots a part of its agenda and demand its implementation for the 2024 General Elections,” Tewari posted on X.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Friday declined to entertain a PIL seeking an independent audit of the source code of the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) and placing such reports in the public domain.

A bench of Chief Justice India DY Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra said “no actionable material that the poll panel acted in breach of constitutional mandate” in holding elections has been placed before it by the petitioner.

“The Election Commission is entrusted with the control over elections. Presently, the petitioner places no actionable material before this court to show that the poll panel has acted in breach of its constitutional mandate. There is no material before us which casts doubt on EVMs,” the bench said.

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