The government’s plan to use electronic voting machines (EVM) in 119 of the 240 constituencies during the upcoming Constituent Assembly (CA) elections has been rendered moot. The Indian Election Commission has said it will not be able to deliver EVMs as per Nepal’s requirement any time soon. Currently, the India-built voting console has only 64 voting switches, while the number of political parties entering the CA election fray is likely to surpass that figure. The Election Commission (EC) has registered 139 political parties so far. Although India is planning to upgrade the EVMs to accommodate 384 candidates for its 2014 general elections, it is unlikely that the plan may materialise any time soon.
“It is almost certain that more than 64 parties will be contesting the polls. In that case, the EVMs will be of no use,” said Chief Election Commissioner Neel Kantha Uprety after meeting his Indian counterpart VS Sampath in New Delhi on Friday.
Upreti said India will, however, provide other logistical support for the elections. “Around 100,000 ballot boxes and other items related to the polls will come from India,” he said.
Usually, an election body requires about four months to prepare for the polls, so we have ample time, Uprety said. “The interim time is also crucial for the government and the political parties to settle political differences and create an environment to hold the elections in a free and fair manner.”
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