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Kejriwal demands use of ballot papers in Delhi civic body polls; EC says not possible

Tuesday March 14, 2017 8:19 PM, & Agencies

Arvind Kejriwal

New Delhi:
Amid allegations that the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) tampered the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) to win Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand state elections, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Tuesday demanded use of ballot papers in the upcoming Municipal elections Delhi.

The Election Commission however turned down the demand.

According to media reports, Kejriwal has written a letter to Election Commission of India demanding the use of ballot papers instead of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). He had earlier directed the chief secretary to ask the state election office for holding MCD elections through ballot papers.

Kejriwal's fresh demand came on the day when the Election Commission announced the schedule of the Delhi Municipal elections to be held in April.

The announcement was made by State Election Commissioner S K Srivastava at a press conference putting to rest months of speculation on the schedule of the polls, in which the BJP, the Congress and the AAP, are betting big.

Asked to respond to Kejriwal seeking the use of traditional mode of exercising franchise, Srivastava said, "Voting through EVMs is very safe. And, if the polls are to be held through ballot then some of the rules have to be amended."

"We started the preparations for the polls keeping in mind use of EVMs only. The dates have been assigned accordingly," the the State Election Commissioner said, according to PTI.

According to the schedule released by Srivastava, elections in three Delhi MCDs will be held on April 22 and results would be declared in April 25.

"The polls to the three municipal corporations of Delhi will be held on April 22 and counting will take place on April 25," he said.

Informing that the nomination process will begin from March 27 and April 3 would be the last date for filing nominations, Srivastava said, "Scrutiny of nominations will take place on April 5 and the last date for withdrawal of nomination is April 8."

The commissioner also said the expenditure limit for a candidate has been hiked from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 5.75 lakh.

"We have sent our comments to the government on this," Srivastava said.

The erstwhile unified Municipal Corporation of Delhi was trifurcated in 2012 into North, South and East Municipal Corporation or NDMC, SDMC and EDMC respectively.

The BJP has been ruling the MCD since 2007. The last polls were held in 2012.

The much-awaited polls will decide the fate of 272 councillors. While NDMC and SMDC have 104 seats each, EDMC has 64 seats.

The total number of electorate for the civic polls stands at 1,32,10,206, which include 73,15,915 men, 58,93,418 women and 793 voters in the other category, the state election commission said.



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