NIZAMABAD: For the first time since EVMs were introduced in India, ballot papers are making a comeback in Nizamabad. Hopes of using EVMs evaporated on Thursday, as 185 candidates were left in the fray after four withdrew their nominations.
The contest for Nizamabad is significant as incumbent MP and Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s daughter K Kavitha is contesting on a TRS ticket. She is pitted against the Congress’ Madhu Yaskhi and the BJP’s D Aravind.
Also in the fray are 178 farmers, who filed their nominations to protest against the Centre for not conceding their demand for MSP for turmeric, and setting up of a turmeric board. Election officials are now busy allotting symbols to each of the contestants.
The Election Commission used ballot papers till 1999, and EVMs were introduced for the first time in the then undivided state of Andhra Pradesh in the 2004 General elections.
Though political parties haven’t expressed an opinion on using ballot papers in Nizamabad, there is a growing feeling among voters that the number of invalid votes would go up. Officials fear the entire exercise would be time-consuming as each person would take about 10 minutes to vote. The counting of votes would also take very long.
Polls to be postponed?
There are fears that the polling date might be postponed because the printing of ballot papers and voter awareness programmes would take time. However, there has been no communication on this from the poll panel.
TRS candidate K Kavitha said she is not worried about the mass nominations but wants the farmers to know who was responsible for the inordinate delay in announcement of MSP for turmeric and setting up of a turmeric board.
Congress’ Madhu Yashki said he welcomed the development as it illustrates an awakening among the farmers.
D Aravind (BJP) said that in the backdrop of the mass nominations filed by farmers, the BJP’s assurance in favour of farmers’ demands is being received positively by the farmers’ community.