February 24, 2017 12:04:21 am
Expressing suspicion over the fairness in the postal ballots, all the political parties in Goa, except BJP and AAP, on Thursday demanded that the system of paper-based voting for government servants should be replaced with the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). Several political parties, which had contested the recently-held Legislative Assembly polls in Goa, met at Panaji on Thursday and unanimously resolved to demand scrapping of the postal ballot, fearing that some of the political parties and their candidates were trying to influence the government servants, voting through postal ballots.
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There are total 15,590 postal ballots, of which the state Chief Electoral Officer has received 9,579 ballots so far.
Interestingly, BJP and AAP abstained from attending this crucial meeting, which was attended by Congress, NCP, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), Goa Forward Party (GFP), Goa Vikas Party (GVP) and Goa Suraj Party.
Though Goa Suraksha Manch (GSM) could not remain present for the meeting, it had extended its support.
“The all-party meeting resolved that the Election Commission of India (ECI) should urgently take suo-moto cognisance of the concerns raised by the political parties. The postal ballot voting should be cancelled for the government servants. The fresh voting for them should be conducted through EVMs,” AICC secretary Girish Chodankar told reporters in the presence of the party representatives.
“We are not against the postal ballot, but what we feel is that the ECI has made mockery of postal ballot system. The postal balloting of over 35 days granted to these service voters defeats the purpose of free and fair elections,” he said.
Chodankar said, “ECI should be more worried about such an issue as sanctity of the election process is in the question.”
GFP spokesperson Durgadas Kamat said that it is the duty of the ECI to fix a rational and reasonable schedule for postal ballots.
“The current manner of postal balloting cannot be justified on any rational ground. On the other hand, it has brought disgrace to the election process,” he stated.
“There is something wrong in the functioning of CEO. We demand that ECI should send its team to Goa and conduct inquiry into the entire postal ballot process,” Kamat added.
Goa Chief Electoral Officer Kunal recently had ruled out that there was anything wrong in the ballot paper voting.
The Election commission had also issued notice to the political parties against trying to influence the voters.
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