Maha cabinet to decide on ballot paper suggestion: Ajit

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Mumbai, Feb 4 (PTI) Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Thursday said the state cabinet will discuss and decide if a suggestion is made to it over framing a law to give electors the option of casting vote via ballot papers besides EVMs in some elections.

His statement comes two days after Assembly Speaker Nana Patole asked the state legislature to frame a law to make available to the electors the option of casting votes using ballot papers, besides EVMs in the local governing bodies and Assembly polls.

'If any suggestion comes, the chief minister and his cabinet colleagues will discuss and decide how to go about after discussion and the cabinet's decision will be final. We will take a decision after discussion,' Pawar told reporters after he was asked about Patole's comments.

Pawar said ballot papers were done away with because the electronic voting machine (EVM) helps save other expenses as the process becomes paperless.

He noted that the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls are held using EVMs.

'If there are doubts about holding other polls using EVMs, if there is any new technology and transparency can be ensured through it, then it must be thought about,' Pawar added.

Replaying to a question, he dismissed the allegation against the state government that it was being soft in taking action in connection with alleged objectionable speech made at the January 30 Elgar Parishad held in Pune.

'The government is taking a very tough stand on it. We have all seen what stance the government took during the pandemic. An offence has already been registered against the people concerned,' he said.

A case for allegedly promoting enmity between different groups was registered against Aligarh Muslim University alumnus Sharjeel Usmani in Pune on Tuesday in connection with his speech at the January 30 Elgar Parishad (conclave).

The opposition BJP in Maharashtra had demanded action against Usmani, accusing him of hurting religious sentiments.