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Opposition seeks ban on EVMs for Maharashtra polls

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Mumbai, Aug 2 ) All Maharashtra Opposition parties on Friday unanimously demanded a ban on the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and a return to the ballot paper voting for the upcoming Maharashtra Assembly elections.

Addressing a joint press conference here top leaders of the Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and other smaller parties alleged that there were many discrepancies in the EVMs in the last Lok Sabha elections which have raised serious doubts in the minds of the people.

In the interest of bringing in transparency to the peoples’ mandate, it was imperative to bring back the ballot paper system of voting, the leaders added.

However, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who is on a state-wide ‘Mahajanadesh Yatra’, hit out at the Opposition parties for their demand and asked them to “introspect” instead of attacking EVMs.

The Opposition parties also announced a massive peoples’ procession on August 21 in support of their demand to the Election Commission of India (ECI).

Congress state President Balasaheb Thorat said the results of the last Lok Sabha elections were shocking and the anti-EVM agitation was to bring back honesty and transparency in the electoral process.

Former deputy chief minister and NCP leader Ajit Pawar said developed countries in the world had stopped using EVMs and returned to ballot paper voting, and so should India.

“Let the people decide whom to vote for and let them know whom they have actually voted for without having any doubt in their minds. But this is not so in the case of the EVMs. Even the common masses and the NGOs are making the same demands,” Pawar said.

MNS President Raj Thackeray said “US-made chips are used in the Indian EVMs” but even the US President has expressed reservations over the EVMs.

“On August 21, people will fill up forms opposing EVM, which will be submitted to the Maharashtra State Election Commission. We have appealed to the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena to also join the anti-EVM movement in the interest of democracy,” Thackeray said.

Another NCP leader and ex-deputy chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal said that the election process must remain “completely transparent, but to ensure this, return to ballot paper was imperative”.

“When advanced democracies like the US and Japan have discarded this technology, why must we stick to it? People have lost faith in EVMs, so it must be changed,” Bhujbal urged.

Swabhiman Shetkari Sanghatana President Raju Shetti said that a return to the ballot paper was imperative for bringing total transparency in the electoral process.

“We appeal to all village panchayats to pass a resolution on August 15 for banning EVMs and reintroducing the ballot paper system,” Shetti said.

Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) leader and retired Bombay High Court judge Justice B.G. Kolse-Patil said people have lost faith in the EVMs and “we shall boycott it in the elections”.

Others, including Brigadier (Rtd) Sudhir Sawant, Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Prakash Reddy, Peasants and Workers Party Chief Jayant Patil, said ballot papers must be brought back to “save democracy”.

Lashing out at the demand, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in Wardha said that it would be better if the Opposition parties introspect and accept their loss (in the polls) instead of blaming EVMs.

“Instead of launching agitations targeting EVMs, the Opposition must dwell on their performance, accept the realities, and go back to the people to get their sympathy,” Fadnavis said dismissively

Election

Another exit poll predicts hung assembly in Haryana

The exit poll also predicted that Jannayak Janata Party of Dushyant Chautala could emerge as the kingmaker. The party is likely to get 6-10 seats.

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Lok Sabha Election

New Delhi, Oct 22 : The BJP and Congress are engaged in a neck-to-neck fight in the Haryana assembly polls and the result could bring bad news for the Manohar Lal Khattar government, according to an exit poll prediction by Aaj Tak-Axis My India.

The exit poll result for the state indicates the BJP is likely to win 32-44 seats in the 90-member Haryana assembly.

The BJP bagged 47 seats in the last assembly polls. The half-way mark in the state assembly is 45.

The exit poll also predicted that Jannayak Janata Party of Dushyant Chautala could emerge as the kingmaker. The party is likely to get 6-10 seats.

The results of the election held on Monday would be announced on October 24.

The Aaj Tak-Axis My India exit poll also predicted that the Congress would bag 30-42 seats. Taking this into consideration, the distribution of votes between the BJP and Congress stands at 33 and 32 per cent, respectively.

In the 2014 Assembly election, the Congress got 15 seats, Indian National Lok Dal 19, two seats went to Haryana Janhit Congress, and Independent and other got 7.

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Haryana had 68.31 per cent polling

While the highest polling was recorded in the Ellenabad constituency at 83.62 per cent, the lowest was in Badkhal (49.18 per cent).

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Voting Day Haryana eleciton

Chandigarh, Oct 22 : Haryana recorded 68.31 per cent polling in the Assembly elections on Monday, Joint Chief Electoral Officer Inder Jeet said on Tuesday.

The total vote count included 69.36 per cent men voters and 67.12 per cent women.

While the highest polling was recorded in the Ellenabad constituency at 83.62 per cent, the lowest was in Badkhal (49.18 per cent).

Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s constituency Karnal had 52.29 per cent voting, while Congress two-time Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s Garhi Sampla Kiloi had 72.83 per cent voting.

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Canada’s polling places open for general election

The first election results are scheduled to be released about 11 p.m. on Monday.

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Election Canada

Toronto, Canada, Oct 22 : The polling stations have opened in Canada for the general elections being held on Monday in which voters will elect the 338 lawmakers in the lower house of Parliament.

The polling places in the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador on Canada’s Atlantic coast were the first to open at 8:30 am local time, and they will remain open for 12 hours, Efe news reported.

The polling stations in the Pacific coast province of British Columbia were the last to open their doors. The voting centers allowed voters in to cast their ballots starting at 7 am and will remain open until 7 p.m.

Canada, the world’s second largest country by land area with 9.98 million square kilometers (3.85 million square miles) and 37.5 million residents, spans six time zones.

Elections Canada, the public entity tasked with organizing elections in the country, estimated that 4.7 million people, some 29 percent more than in the 2015 elections, have already voted during the four days set aside for early voting.

The first election results are scheduled to be released about 11 p.m. on Monday.

The province of Ontario, the country’s most populous region with 14.5 million residents, is the one in which the most lawmakers will be elected. There will be 121 lawmakers chosen from this region, followed by 78 from Quebec and 42 from British Columbia.

Meanwhile, the three northern provinces – Nunavut, Yukon and the Northwest Territories – with a combined population of just 111,663, will each have one seat in Parliament.

Voter surveys indicate that the Liberal Party of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Conservative Party each have about 32 per cent support among the voting public and experts estimate that neither party will wind up with an absolute majority of parliamentary seats.

In the 2015 elections, the Liberals obtained 39.4 per cent of the votes and 177 seats in Parliament while the Conservatives garnered 31.89 per cent of the votes and 95 seats, followed by the New Democratic Party with 19.7 per cent of the votes and 39 seats.

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