Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal waves to supporters while campaigning. Photograph: (Getty)
Kejriwal wants the civic polls in Delhi to be postponed so that they can be held using ballot papers
The municipal election in Delhi should be "postponed" so that it can be held using ballot papers, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Monday said, three weeks before the polls.
Kejriwal had made the demand right after the Punjab state polls results were announced, questioning the reliability of electronic voting machines (EVMs). But it was rejected by Lt Governor Anil Baijal who cited "time constraints" to effect any change in mode of polling.
On the Election Commission asking the AAP to "introspect" on the reasons behind its performance in Punjab, Kejriwal's caustic response was that he was considering including the EC in his party's decision-making body, the Political Affairs Committee (PAC).
Addressing a press conference at his residence, Kejriwal alleged "widepsread tampering" of EVMs and claimed VVPAT (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail) machines from Uttar Pradesh were being brought to conduct the Rajouri Garden bypoll.
"MCD polls should be held using paper ballots. It should be postponed if time is required to do that," he told reporters.
The State Election Commission has already declared that the municipal polls will be held on April 23.
"This goes against the norm that EVMs used in one election cannot be used in another for at least 45 days," the Delhi chief minister said.
He has also written to the EC claiming that "our experts" will prove that the voting machines can be tampered with. "I challenge the ECI to give us 72 hours to prove it".
The AAP chief said in light of reports that even VVPAT machines were not reliable, ballot papers were the "only safe option", which, he said, has been adopted by many western countries.
"The microchips inside the EVMs can be fiddled with. Sophisticated software is being used to do that. But not all machines are tampered, the critical ones are," Kejriwal claimed without elaborating further.
He also questioned the EC for using EVMs used in Uttar Pradesh's Govind Nagar for conducting bypolls in Madhya Pradesh's Bhind.
At Bhind, VVPAT-enabled EVMs were found printing the BJP's poll symbol irrespective of the button pressed during a mock trial, which the opposition parties had latched on to.