Raj Thackeray invites Mamata to anti-EVM campaign

Kolkata: Maharashtra Navnirman Sena President Raj Thackeray being received by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on his arrival in Kolkata on July 31, 2019. (Photo: IANS)

Kolkata (IANS) Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray on Wednesday met West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and invited her to his party's campaign to shun Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and return to ballot papers for future elections.

Claiming that there were reports of glitches in the EVMs in 370 parliamentary constituencies across the country in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Thackrey said that his party will launch a massive campaign against using EVMs in Indian elections in which several opposition leaders, including Banerjee and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, will be present.

"I came to meet Mamataji for the sole reason of discussing the developments regarding EVMs and VVPATs. We will take out a morcha (campaign) in Maharashtra regarding this. Mamataji is one of the senior leaders in the country," Thackeray said after his meeting with Banerjee at the state secretariat Nabanna.

"I have invited her (Banerjee) to attend our programme on August 21. She and her party has expressed their support towards our initiative and agreed to be with us in this battle against EMVs. She has been selflessly working to save democracy in the country," he said.

Thackrey said that their movement is not against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but against EVMs.

"This is an anti-EVM movement. It is not anti-Modi. But if being anti-EVM means being anti-Modi, we are okay with it," Thackeray said.

"EVM voting has been cancelled in several countries across the world. Then why is it still being used in India? The future elections should be conducted on ballot papers instead of EVMs," he added.

Banerjee, one of the most vocal critics of EVMs, herself gave a call to shun the voting machines and return to ballot papers during Trinamool Congress' Martyrs' Day rally on July 21.

When asked whether he would move the court against the usage of EVMs, Thackeray said he has lost faith in high courts, Supreme Court as well as the Election Commission of India (ECI).

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