After poll debacle, YSRCP chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy bats for paper ballots in place of EVMs

Responding to the tweet, TDP shared an old video of Jagan supporting the EVM in 2019, when he won the state assembly elections.

BySouth First Desk

Published Jun 18, 2024 | 10:25 AM Updated Jun 18, 2024 | 10:25 AM

YS Jagan during campaigning

Joining the voices batting for the use of paper ballots instead of EVMs in the voting process, former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh and YSRCP chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy demanded paper ballots to ensure transparency.

The former chief minister, who lost the recently concluded Andhra Pradesh Assembly elections, on Tuesday, 18 June, took to X, to share his thoughts on the paper ballot system.

Drawing parallels between justice and democracy, Jagan said, “Just as justice should not only be served but should also appear to have been served, so should democracy not only prevail but must appear to be prevalent undoubtedly.”

Noting that in almost every “advanced democracy”, paper ballots are used instead of EVMs, Jagan said, “We too must move towards the same in upholding the true spirit of our democracy.”

Supporting the sentiment, a supporter of the YSRCP further wrote, “The shift towards paper ballots, as observed in many advanced democracies, is a step in the right direction. It enhances transparency, ensures verifiability, and bolsters public confidence in electoral outcomes. By adopting paper ballots, we can better uphold the true spirit of our democracy and strengthen the trust of our citizens in the democratic process.”

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TDP hits at Jagan

Responding to the tweet, the official handle of the ruling TDP shared an old video of Jagan supporting the EVM in 2019 when he won the state assembly elections.

“Saying that the EVMs worked brilliantly when 151 seats were won, Pulivendula MLA, it is not good at all to say that EVMs are being tampered with when 11 seats are available,” they wrote.

In the video attached, Jagan is seen supporting the EVMs, claiming that if there were any difference, the voters would raise the concern.

“When a voter clicks a button on EVM, he cross-checks with the VVPAT slips, and if there was any discrepancy, they would immediately complain.”

In the 2024 Assembly elections, the NDA alliance secured a landslide victory winning 164 out of 175 seats. The YSRCP has won 11 seats.

It may be recalled that after the 2019 assembly election rout, TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu stopped short of blaming EVMs in a press conference but echoed a similar sentiment.

Also Read: Unauthorised structures near Jagan’s Hyderabad residence demolished

Allegations of EVM tampering

In the last couple of days, the opposition and the ruling party at the centre have engaged in a war of words with regard to EVM credibility.

Questioning the reliability of EVMs, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi and others on Sunday also quoted a post by Elon Musk, chairman of social media platform X and CEO of Tesla, in which he talked about eliminating EVMs and claimed the risk of hacking was “too high”.

“Democracy ends up becoming a sham and prone to fraud when institutions lack accountability,” Gandhi said in a post on X and tagged the media report which claimed that a relative of Shiv Sena’s candidate Ravindra Waikar, who won the polls from Mumbai’s North-West seat by 48 votes, had a phone that unlocks an EVM.

But former Union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar of the BJP countered Musk’s criticism of EVMs and said that the billionaire businessman’s view may apply to the US and other places where they use regular compute platforms to build “Internet-connected voting machines”.

“But Indian EVMs are custom designed, secure and isolated from any network or media – No connectivity, no Bluetooth, wifi, Internet. ie there is no way in. Factory-programmed controllers that cannot be reprogrammed,” Chandrasekhar said in a post on X.

“Electronic voting machines can be architected and built right as India has done. We would be happy to run a tutorial Elon,” the BJP leader added.

(Edited by Sumavarsha Kandula)