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EC convenes all-party meet: Congress pitches for ballot paper

By Deepika

New Delhi, Aug 27: The Congress on Monday appealed to the Election Commission of India (ECI) that 2019 Lok Sabha polls be conducted on ballot papers. At least 17 parties, including the NDA ally Shiv Sena, have been pitching for returning to ballot papers.

 All party meeting called by Election Commission

The EC has called the meeting with seven national and 51 state recognised political parties to discuss various electoral issues.

The meeting will discuss preparations for the Lok Sabha polls due next year where the issue of vulnerability of EVMs is likely to remain in focus. Some political parties are set to raise the issue of alleged vulnerability of EVMs to hacking and tampering, a PTI report said earlier.

The parties that are likely to attend are: the Congress, Trinamool Congress (TMC), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S), Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Samajwadi Party, CPI-M, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), DMK, CPI, YSR Congress, Kerala Congress Mani (KCM) and AIUDF.

In a press release on Friday, the Commission said considering that political parties are stakeholders in the Indian electoral system, it has been periodically holding consultations with all recognised political parties to elicit their views on important issues and to strengthen the democratic system by improving electoral systems and practices.

The Commission will also bring up the issue of fidelity of electoral rolls and will have the views of improve the accuracy, transparency and inclusivity in the system. It will also invite views that parties can undertake to enhance representation of women within the organisational structure of the political party as well as in the candidate selection for contesting elections to legislative bodies.

The issue of election expenditure, regulation, expenditure ceiling for legislative council election and limiting political parties expenditure would also be discussed. Discussion on enforcement measures to ensure timely submission of annual audited reports and election expenditure reports are also on the agenda.

The panel will also discuss the election campaign silence period in the meeting. The discussion on this topic would also cover inclusion of print media within the ambit of the provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and the issue of online canvassing to promote or prejudice the electoral prospects of a party or candidate on social media during last 48 hours before conclusion of polling.

Important issues like alternative modes of voting for domestic migrants and absentee voters, and the views and feedback of the political parties regarding efforts to encourage participation of voters with disabilities will also be discussed.

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