EC will find satisfactory solution to issues raised at all-party meeting, says O.P. Rawat

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According to an official release, the Election Commission told the political parties that the process of roll revision in all states will start from September 1 and will continue for two months more than the usual period of one month in view of the festival season.

New Delhi :  Chief Election Commissioner O.P. Rawat on Monday said satisfactory solution will be found to the issues raised at an all-party meeting convened by the poll panel with some major parties demanding reverting to paper ballots while there were mixed views on simultaneous polls.

Demands for linking Aadhaar numbers with electors' detail, providing free airtime in the private media, and measures to regulate publicity in the no-campaign period in view of proliferation of electronic and digital media, were made by political parties in the meeting.

"The commission assured all the political parties that each of the suggestions will be looked into and will be responded by Commission in a time-bound manner," it said.

The parties assured the Commission that they would extend requisite support in the process of preparation of electoral rolls. They also suggested sharing copies of the deletion list.

The release said some political parties requested the Commission to fix a certain percentage of Voter Verifiable Paper Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips-count to enhance the trust in electronic voting machines (EVMs).

The Commission assured them that it is being looked into with the expert inputs of Indian Statistical Institute.

The commission also said that a candidate may approach the Returning Officer concerned for the specific count of VVPAT of a polling station under the law already available.

Rawat, who briefly interacted with the media after the meeting, said the poll panel takes a comprehensive view of the suggestions given to it and will take a call on putting a ceiling on party expenditure in the elections.

"Some of the parties said that going back to ballot is really bad because 'we don't want to bring back the booth capturing'. At the same time, some parties said there are some problems with EVMs and issues with VVPATs slip count. All those things have been noted by the EC commission and it will take a call," Rawat told reporters here.

"We will definitely look into the issues presented by them. There will be a satisfactory solution to them," Rawat added.

He said the major takeaway from the meeting was that political parties were "very positive and very constructive" in suggesting the ways and means to further improve the integrity of the elections.

He said parties also raised the issue of simultaneous elections. "Parties have raised the issue of 'one nation and one polls'. A few supported and others opposed it."

The parties welcomed the discussion for enhancing the role of women in the electoral process and suggested a ceiling on expenditure limit for legislative council elections.