Opposition rejects EC plan for remote EVMs

NEW DELHI: Most Opposition parties, while agreeing that improving voter turnout in elections was a collective responsibility of all the stakeholders, on Monday displayed

reservations and caution towards the Election Commission’s proposal to introduce remote voting for domestic migrants. They insisted on more clarity regarding matters relating to

legal and administrative processes as well logistical challenges in remote voting before moving to the technical aspect of watching functioning of the proposed remote voting

machine (RVM). In the end, the purpose for which the meeting was called — demonstrating the functioning of the RVM, a modified EVM that can poll votes for 72 different

constituencies from a remote polling station — remained unfulfilled, with most parties unwilling to watch a live demonstration until they had fully understood the remote voting

concept and were convinced about its need and feasibility. Some regional parties insisted on the RVM demonstration being conducted in the states while others said a domestic

migrant should be defined before taking matters ahead. 97010742 Yet, EC officials told TOI that the meeting, which lasted almost five hours, was a milestone in

carrying forward constructive discussions with the political parties on electoral reforms — the last such deliberation having been held five years ago — and strengthening

democracy. “More than 80 party representatives patiently listened to each other's submissions. They appreciated ECI's initiative of calling an all-party discussion and

suggested more such discussions on a regular basis,” said an officer.