Newly-elected Samajwadi Party MLAs on Thursday joined the chorus on ‘EVM tampering’ allegations levelled by Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati and Aam Aadmi Party supremo Arvind Kejriwal and demanded that future elections be held using paper ballots.
At the first meeting here of the new SP MLAs, the consensus was to go back to the traditional paper ballots in future to rule out possibility of any tampering of the Electronic Voting Machines, party spokesman Rajendra Chowdhury said.
The MLAs felt that the party’s drubbing at the hands of the Bharatiya Janata Party was because of EVM tampering and suggested all relevant proof should be collected to substantiate their charge, he said.
The SP, which ruled in Uttar Pradesh for five years after winning 224 of the 403 assembly seats in 2012, had to be content with only 47 seats in its kitty this time, while the score of BSP plunged from 80 to just 19 seats now, as BJP and its allies notched up 325 seats.
An angry Mayawati had on Wednesday decided to move court over alleged tampering of EVMs in the recent assembly polls, an issue which led the Delhi chief minister to cry conspiracy.
Kejriwal also said that before 2014 Lok Sabha polls even some BJP leaders like L K Advani were not in favour of the EVMs.
As the leaders of BSP and AAP raised their pitch in questioning the reliability of the EVMs, the refrain of the newly elected SP MLAs too was similar at Thursday’s meet.
SP national president Akhilesh Yadav had said on March 11, the day results were declared, “If questions have been raised by the Bahujan Samaj Party on EVMs, government should probe it. I will also look at it on my level.”
The SP legislators at today's meeting authorised Akhilesh to decide the name of the Leader of the SP Legislature Party, who in turn would become the Leader of the Opposition automatically as SP is the largest party in the opposition bloc.
The meeting at SP headquarters was attended by Akhilesh, his uncle Shivpal Yadav, senior leader Azam Khan and party office bearers.
However, there was no decision as to who will be the Leader of the SP Legislature Party.
The meeting decided to hold the party's national executive meet on March 25, SP MLA Parasnath Yadav told reporters, adding it was not a meeting to review the party’s debacle, but a get together of MLAs after Holi.
Chowdhury said Akhilesh congratulated the newly elected MLAs for winning elections in the ‘adverse scenario’.
“When the PM and the BJP national President were trying to mislead and gag voice in democracy during elections, SP won 47 seats,” he said quoting Akhilesh.
He also said that SP MLAs have been asked to highlight the BJP’s ‘anti-people measures’ after it takes over and continue their fight on principles of ‘samajwad’ (socialism).
IMAGE: Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav. Photograph: Nand Kumar/PTI Photo