Ahead of upcoming Assembly elections, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh backs ballot papers instead of EVMs
Chandigarh, Mar 18: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday batted for polling through ballot papers, saying the electronic voting machines could be "fudged". His statement came days after when some MLAs, including Navjot Singh Sidhu, had questioned the use of EVMs and had said voting should be held through ballot papers.
"We should go back to ballot papers and I'm totally in support of this," Amarinder Singh said, replying to a question on EVMs during a press conference to mark the completion of four years of his government.
The chief minister said he was among the first to oppose the use of EVMs in elections as they could be "fudged", pointing out that countries like Japan, Sweden and the UK were not using it.
"Why are advanced countries not having this (EVMs)? Why Japan is not having this? Why they have ballot paper? Why Sweden has ballot papers? Why the UK has ballot papers?" he asked. On March 9, Congress MLA Sidhu had said in the Assembly that countries like the US disapproved polling through electronic voting machines (EVMs) as these countries had reasoned that any technology could be "manipulated" but not ballot papers.
Even Lok Insaaf Party MLA Simarjeet Singh Bains had said in the House that according to Article 328 of the Constitution, an Assembly was empowered to decide whether it wants election through an EVM or ballot paper.
Asked about reservation in jobs like neighbouring Haryana, which has recently reserved 75 per cent of the jobs for locals in the private sector, the Punjab chief minister opposed the policy of "excessive regionalisation" being followed by certain states, saying "Amarinder stands for India for Indians".
"I believe that India is one country," he said, adding that "too much regionalisation" was not a good thing. Pointing out that there was no state in India where Punjabis were not flourishing and doing a great job, the chief minister asked "why Punjabis cannot buy land in Himachal Pradesh or do not have certain rights in Kashmir and Rajasthan?" "If we start regionalising, we will suffer," he added.