Shillong, Oct. 27: The Opposition in Meghalaya has backed the United Democratic Party (UDP) to oppose the Election Commission's decision to utilise the old electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the polls.
The UDP, a constituent of the Meghalaya United Alliance (MUA) government, is likely to urge all political parties in the state to unanimously oppose the decision to use the old voting machines.
According to the regional party, if the improved voting system is not put in place, the Election Commission should go back to the previous secret ballot paper system.
"We totally back the UDP as we are also concerned about the use of these old EVMs. On many occasions, political parties in the country have expressed reservations about the machines," Opposition leader Conrad K. Sangma told The Telegraph.
The electorate in Meghalaya has been using the EVMs since the 2003 Assembly elections.
But as voices were raised against the genuineness of EVMs, the Election Commission recently embarked on a mock poll in five locations in the country to examine the feasibility of an improved system known as the voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT).
This new system, which is attached to the EVM, is an independent verification system for voting machines. It is designed to allow voters to verify if their votes have been cast correctly. The technology also provides room to detect possible election fraud or malfunction and audit the stored electronic results.
The system, used by some South American countries, has been developed by Bharat Electrical Ltd and Electronic Corporation of India Ltd. Several political parties have backed this new system as they felt that the new technology was more dependable.
However, Election Commission officials have ruled out the use of the new system in the 2013 Assembly elections in Meghalaya.
The UDP was hoping the new system would be put in place for the coming polls, but was surprised when it realised that the old voting system would be utilised.
"We were expecting the Election Commission to use the upgraded version of EVMs which are more effective and dependable. But this decision to use the old EVMs is questioning the intentions of the commission," UDP party sources said.
The party will also request the Election Commission either to use the improved version or to revert to the old secret ballot system for the elections. A formal representation would also be sent to the commission in this regard.