Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) president Raj Thackeray on Wednesday remarked that he has lost faith in the Election Commission of India (ECI), the Supreme Court of India (SC) and the courts in general over their plea to ban the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines and reintroduce paper ballot in future elections. Addressing a joint media briefing along with West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, while responding to queries he remarked “this is not just an anti-Modi issue. If the anti-EVM movement turns into anti-Modi movement, it will do just fine”.
The MNS chief was in Kolkata to invite the TMC chief and West Bengal Chief Minister to join the all opposition party led anti-EVM morcha in Mumbai on August 9. Thackeray disclosed that while Mamata Didi had some prior official engagements on that day, she nevertheless has extended her whole hearted support to the cause. Referring to his recent meeting with Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora, he said that he has lost all faith in the ECI, the SC and other courts. He added that after returning to Mumbai he will announce the future course of action.
Speaking to the media, he said that Mamata Didi has been selflessly working and is in support of our cause to save democracy. Thackeray said that in Maharashtra the opposition has been demanding scrapping the use of EVMs and VVPATs and going back to the use of paper ballot. He further stated that in the recent Lok Sabha elections there were problems found in EVMs in about 370 Lok Sabha constituencies. The MNS chief argued that world over the EVMs are not being used. Thackeray stated that as part of the efforts to mobilize opposition party support he had recently met former Congress president Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi.
West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC chief stated that the opposition parties need to work together to save demoracy. Advocating her support to ban the use of EVM and VVPAT machines, Mamata Banerjee stated that she would join the anti-EVM movement at a later date. Referring to the recent Lok Sabha election results, she said that even before the election results were announced predictions were made that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will get these many seats in this state and that state.
Raising questions as to how this was possible, the TMC chief said that world over in countries like Japan, United Kingdom, United States of America those countries have stopped using EVMs. Mamata Banerjee further wanted to know if world over countries have stopped using EVMs then why only in India are they being deliberately used. She pointed out that recently 23 opposition parties had met the ECI. The opposition had even moved the ECI however their case was rejected. Mamata Banerjee stated that she has been waging a battle against the use of EVMs since 1995.