Political parties differ on machine that hides voting pattern: Election Commission

Political parties are split on the introduction of a new machine which prevents disclosure of voting pattern during counting to enhance secrecy, the Election Commission has informed the Law Ministry.

Published: 06th September 2016 03:20 PM  |   Last Updated: 06th September 2016 03:20 PM   |  A+A-

By PTI

NEW DELHI: Political parties are split on the introduction of a new machine which prevents disclosure of voting pattern during counting to enhance secrecy, the Election Commission has informed the Law Ministry.

The Commission's letter to the Legislative Department in the Law Ministry is now part of documents before a team of ministers formed last month to take a call on whether the machine should be used in future elections.

While it is learnt that the team of ministers is in favour of the 'totaliser' machine, a final decision will be taken by the Union Cabinet based on its recommendations.

The five-member team headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, was set up on the directions of the Prime Minister's Office, to recommend to the Union Cabinet on whether the machines can be used.

The move of the government to set up a team of ministers comes against the backdrop of the Supreme Court asking the Centre to decide on the issue by this month end.

The machine is connected to control unit of EVMs after polling and it gives out an overall result. It does not disclose results boothwise, thus preventing parties from knowing which area voted against them. When EVMs were not in use, ballot papers from different booths were mixed before counting to conceal voting pattern.

According to the Commission, Congress, NCP and BSP "categorically" supported its proposal to use 'totaliser' machines, while the ruling BJP was of the view that booth-wise performance is important for parties in their booth management.

"The CPI-M agreed in principle to the proposal with the rider that we should be careful regarding the fool-proof functioning of the totaliser and that in may be tried out in phases," the Commission has told the Law Ministry.

Referring to a meeting convened by it of recognised national and state parties in March to discuss electoral reforms, including the use of totalisers, the Commission has informed the ministry that the CPI did not give any specific view on the use of the new machine.

While AAP -- Delhi's only recognised state party -- has supported totaliser, Trinamool Congress -- accorded national party status last week -- opposed its introduction.

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