Raj Thackeray meets Sonia Gandhi, discusses upcoming Maharashtra election

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Raj Thackeray

New Delhi: Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray on July 8 met Congress parliamentary party leader Sonia Gandhi.

The two leaders discussed the issue of EVMs and the political situation in Maharashtra where Assembly elections are scheduled to take place later this year. Thackeray met Gandhi at her residence at 10 Janpath.

They mainly discussed the EVM issue, but they also exchanged views on the political situation in the state in view of the upcoming Assembly polls in the state.

Earlier on Monday, Thackeray met Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and demanded that the Assembly polls in the state, due later this year, be conducted through paper ballots instead of Electronic Voting Machines.

In his visit to the national capital, the first in more than a decade, Thackeray said he has submitted a letter to the Election Commission, demanding it to switch back to the traditional paper ballot. He termed the meeting “mere formality”.

“There are doubts in the minds of voters that the votes they cast do not go to their chosen candidates. In such a scenario, the Election Commission should switch back to paper ballots and conduct the Maharashtra state polls through it. We strongly feel that the EVMs can be tampered with,” Thackeray told reporters after the meeting.

Thackeray also cited media reports which stated that there was a difference in the tally between the votes cast and votes counted in nearly 220 Lok Sabha constituencies.

“This gave rise to suspicion in our minds. The doubts over credibility of the EVMs further increased when the Election Commission removed this data from the its website,” he said in the letter.

He also sought to know how secure are the Public Sector Undertakings Bharat Electronic Ltd and Electronic Corporation of India which manufacture the EVMs.

The MNS did not contest the Lok Sabha polls but Thackeray had run an aggressive campaign against the Narendra Modi government. The party contested the 2009 and 2014 Assembly polls in which its tally came down drastically from 13 to one.

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