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Mumbai: Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray has urged all political parties to boycott elections till the Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines or the ballot paper system are not made available. In a letter written to chiefs of various political parties, he said since the elections in 2014, there have been doubts about the credibility of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). The allegations that EVMs are being tampered have been confirmed in all subsequent polls, he claimed.

“In so many constituencies, our corporators and MLAs worked relentlessly and yet they faced defeat. In fact, in so many places the candidates got zero votes. Now, how is this possible?” Thackeray questioned. He said the First World countries like USA, England, Germany, the Netherlands, Japan and Korea chose to discontinue the use of EVMs and reinstated the ballot system.

“The only countries still using EVMs are India, Nigeria, Venezuela, among others. Why are we insisting on this disputable method?” the MNS chief asked. One cannot push aside the possibility of EVMs being hacked during the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls due next year, he said, adding that the fundamental right of freedom of expression stands infringed. “I appeal to all political parties to come together and demand that till the time VVPAT machines or ballot paper system are not made available, we will not fight elections,” Thackeray said.

MNS secretary Sachin More told PTI that along with the letter, Thackeray has also enclosed a pen drive having an audio-visual demonstration of how EVMs can be hacked, which has already been demonstrated in the Delhi Assembly. VVPAT is a method of providing feedback to voters using a ballot less voting system. It is an independent verification system for voting machines designed to allow voters to verify that their vote was cast correctly.

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