Maha Speaker Nana Patole calls for law for using ballot paper in state polls
(PTI Photo/Shashank Parade)

Mumbai: Maharashtra Speaker Nana Patole on Tuesday said he has asked the state legislature to frame a law to give voters the option of using ballot papers besides EVMs in the local governing bodies' and state Assembly polls.

According to a statement issued on Patole's Facebook page, one Pradeep Uke from Nagpur had moved an application in this regard before the Speaker and accordingly, a meeting was held to discuss the same at Vidhan Bhavan here. State Medical Education Minister Amit Deshmukh, the state's chief electoral officer Baldev Singh and others were also present for the meeting, the statement said.

Speaking to PTI, Patole said, "I have asked the state government to frame a law in this connection. The state government can frame a law. In the past, doubts were raised during the elections (about EVM tampering)." Voting is a fundamental right and one should have the option of casting vote using ballot papers or EVM, he said.

Several parties, including the Congress, had in the past urged the Election Commission to revert to the ballot paper system, alleging tampering of EVMs in polls. Representing the applicant on Tuesday, advocate Satish Uke said it is the right of voters from the state to have the option of casting their votes via ballot paper as well.

According to the statement, he said it should be left to people to decide whether EVMs or ballot papers are trustworthy and it is the legislature's responsibility to frame a law keeping in mind public sentiments. Several opposition parties across the country have in the past alleged tampering of EVMs and demanded reverting to the ballot paper system.

However, the BJP had previously hit out at the opposition parties for raising doubts over the credibility of EVMs. In Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress are in power under the aegis of the Maha Vikas Aghadi, while the BJP is in the opposition in the state.

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