Naidu demands EC to revert to ballot paper system to ‘protect spirit of electoral process’

New Delhi: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) supremo N Chandrababu Naidu on Saturday demanded the Election Commission of India (ECI) to revert to ballot paper system immediately to “preserve the sanctity and protect the spirit of the electoral process and democracy.”

The TDP supremo met officials of the ECI earlier today over the issue of electronic voting machines (EVM) malfunctioning in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

“We demand the Election Commission of India for reverting to paper ballot system immediately to preserve the sanctity and protect the spirit of electoral process and democracy respectively,” Naidu said in a letter written to the Chief Election Commissioner.

“I wish to bring to your notice a series of malafide actions of Election Commission of India in managing the election process in Andhra Pradesh that gave rise to serious doubts that the constitutional duties of this great institution are not performed with objectivity, impartiality and, professionalism,” he said.

Naidu also claimed that there was inadequate police force at the polling booths despite the request made by the Andhra Pradesh Police Department.

“To aggravate the matters further, the inadequate security arrangements at polling booths, emboldened the criminal elements that resulted in many law and order incidents which resulted in not only loss of lives and injuries but also terrorized the peace-loving voters to come out freely and vote,” the Chief Minister said.

Expressing disappointment over the way polls were conducted in the state and the action that was taken, Naidu said, “Government of India is interfering through the ECI. We have complained against EVMs earlier also. The EC is an autonomous body but they are working at the instructions of Modi. The transfer of officers in Andhra Pradesh are unjustified.”

On April 11, after polling in a few districts of Andhra Pradesh was disrupted briefly due to malfunctioning of electronic voting machines, Naidu had requested the EC for an extension of polling time in the state to compensate for the time lost due to technical glitches in EVMs.

Voting took place for all the 25 Lok Sabha seats in Andhra Pradesh and for its 175 Assembly seats on April 11. The results will be out on May 23.