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Mamata brings 17 Opposition parties together against EVMs

West Bengal CM also urges Shiv Sena to be a part of the delegation to meet EC 

New Delhi: Seventeen Opposition parties, including the Trinamool Congress, are planning to approach the Election Commission, demanding that ballot papers be used to conduct the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

All Opposition parties should go to EC on this matter. There should be a joint delegation of opposition parties to EC.  -Mamata Banerjee, West Bengal CM & TMC chief 

The 17 parties would meet next week to discuss the plan. “This is a matter on which all opposition parties agreed. We are planning to meet next week. We plan to go to Election Commission and demand that the EC conduct the coming Lok Sabha elections using ballot papers,” TMC leader Derek O’Brien said.

The initiative to solicit the support of all Opposition parties on the matter was taken by TMC chief Mamata Banerjee, when she visited Parliament to meet Opposition leaders and invite them for her planned rally in Kolkata on January 19.

Banerjee was heard appealing to party leaders who visited her in the TMC office in Parliament, to send a joint delegation to the Election Commission over reports of EVM tampering and to demand that the 2019 general election be held on ballots.

“All Opposition parties should go to EC on this matter. There should be a joint delegation of opposition parties to EC,” Banerjee was heard telling party leaders, including from the Congress.

The TMC had staged protests outside Parliament, questioning the neutrality of electronic voting machines, and demanded that ballot papers be brought back for the 2019 Lok Sabha election. The ruling party in West Bengal said it is a common programme that will unite all opposition parties.

Interestingly, Banerjee had also urged the Shiv Sena, a BJP ally, to be a part of the delegation.

Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray previously demanded that the 2019 Lok Sabha election be conducted using ballot papers instead of EVMs. The parties will meet next week to discuss the plan. At present, the poll panel conducts all elections through electronic voting machines (EVMs).

TMC had staged protests outside Parliament, questioning the neutrality of EVMs and demanded that ballot papers be brought back for the 2019 Lok Sabha election. 

‘BJP nervous because of Oppn unity’

Trinamool Congress chief said she was not vying to be the prime minister and that the first priority was to defeat the BJP which is scared and nervous to face the 2019 polls because of opposition unity.

Parliament not your party office: TMC to BJP

  • The Trinamool Congress has been spearheading the protests against the Assam citizens’ bill, which has left out 40 lakh people.
  • Party lawmaker Derek O’Brien said the Trinamool would not “allow Parliament to function as a BJP back garden!”
  • “This is parliament, not the BJP party office that only their chief will be allowed to speak… If Amit Shah wants to speak, he can speak in his fancy, very grand new office… In parliament, we want to hear the home minister.”

Opposition fearing defeat, looking for excuses: Thakur

  • BJP MP Anurag Thakur termed the Opposition’s demand for using ballot papers in the next Lok Sabha polls an excuse, saying they feared defeat in the elections.
  • The BJP leader said the Opposition had lost the no-confidence motion with a decisive margin and they would lose the next general election too.
  • “The Opposition do not have the leader to match the charisma of Narendra Modi. Under the leadership of Modiji and BJP chief Amit Shah, the party is set win the next elections. With fear of their defeat, (the) opposition is looking for excuses,” Thakur said.
  • Thakur, who is also the party’s chief whip in the Lok Sabha, added that people had faith in the party and Modi.
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