WARDHA, MAHARASHTRA: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Friday asked opposition parties to introspect why they have lost the people’s trust instead of finding fault with Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).
Mr Fadnavis, who is on a state-wide tour ahead of the Maharashtra Assembly polls, reminded opposition parties that some of them have ruled the country and different states by winning elections through the same EVMs which they are now blaming for their defeat.
“Accusations against EVMs reflect mistrust in the voters. Instead of blaming EVMs, the opposition should introspect why they have lost connect with the people. That would be a better option than opposing EVMs,” he said at a press conference in Eastern Maharashtra on the second day of his “Maha Janadesh Yatra”.
“Instead of accepting the truth, the opposition is latching on to falsehoods. The EVM hasn’t been introduced now. Instead of finding faults with EVMs, the opposition should go to the people, tell them what wrongs they have done and how they can rectify their mistakes if given a chance again,” the chief minister said.
If opposition leaders do so, Mr Fadnavis said, voters may show them some sympathy to them.
“Now, by questioning EVMs, voters are saying we had voted for the BJP and the opposition is questioning our choice,” he said.
On the issue of induction of opposition leaders into the BJP, Mr Fadnavis said, “There is no dearth of good leaders and workers in our party. If good people from other parties want to join us, we will welcome them. The criteria (for joining the BJP) is mass base, popularity among voters, good track record. There is no room for everybody and anybody in our party.”
Asked why the ally Shiv Sena is not part of his mass contact programme, Mr Fadnavis said, “The yatra is not of the government. It is a BJP yatra. The Shiv Sena is also conducting a yatra of its own. There is no confusion.”
Asked about speculation that some parties may boycott elections if EVMs are used, Mr Fadnavis said, “I can only say that the reason for boycott is not EVMs.”
On the issue of seat-sharing with the Shiv Sena for the year-end polls, Mr Fadnavis said talks will conclude soon.
“There are some areas where we have won like in Nagpur and they have won in Konkan. There is no scope for either of us in constituencies where one party is strong. There can be swap of some seats in other areas,” he said.
Meanwhile, in Mumbai, key opposition leaders held a press conference where they pitched for reverting to the use of ballot papers and announced a protest march on August 21 over the EVM issue.
Prominent opposition leaders, including state Congress president Balasaheb Thorat, MNS chief Raj Thackeray, NCP’s Ajit Pawar and Chhagan Bhujbal, among others, termed the Lok Sabha polls results as “shocking” as they raised concern over the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).
“Doubts are being raised over the use of EVMs. Such things should not happen in a democracy. Various parties and organisations have expressed concerns over the use of the machines,” Mr Pawar told reporters in Mumbai.
“We urge the people to flag the demand of holding the election using ballot papers,” the NCP leader added.