Opposition parties question need for remote voting machines
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New Delhi: Opposition parties on Monday questioned the need to deploy remote voting machines and urged the Election Commission to address the issue of urban apathy towards the poll process.

“No opposition party wants to see the demonstration of a remote voting machine (RVM). First the issue of the need to have such a machine should be settled,” senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh told reporters after participating in a meeting of political parties convened by the Election Commission (EC) for the demonstration of the workings of an RVM.

The former Madhya Pradesh chief minister said he felt that there would be no RVM demonstration till there is a consensus on having one. No political party is prepared to see the demonstration, he said.

“The idea of RVM is not acceptable,” Singh said and added that the commission should address concerns about electronic voting machines raised by eminent citizens of the country.

The EC should also address the issue of urban apathy towards the election process, the Congress leader said.

The poll panel had invited representatives of eight national and 57 recognised state parties for an RVM demonstration here.

The commission has maintained that RVMs, developed by public sector undertaking Electronics Corporation of India, will be a stand alone device not connected to the internet in any way.

The initiative, if implemented, can lead to a “social transformation” for migrants, the EC had said last month.

Each machine can handle up to 72 constituencies, allowing migrant voters to cast their votes from a remote polling booth.

Parties were also asked to give in writing their views by the end of January on issues such as changes required in the law to allow the use of RVMs.

On Sunday, leaders of most Opposition parties decided to oppose the EC’s proposal on RVMs after a meeting facilitated by the Congress.

The meeting was attended by leaders of JD(U), Shiv Sena, CPI, CPI(M), National Conference, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, Peoples Democratic Party, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, Revolutionary Socialist Party, Indian Union Muslim League, as well as Independent Rajya Sabha MP and former Congress leader Kapil Sibal.

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