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Last Updated Saturday December 16 2017 10:21 PM IST

Mayawati dares BJP to face paper ballot in 2019, Congress and SP join chorus

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Mayawati dares BJP to face paper ballot in 2019, Congress and SP join chorus Mayawati addresses a press conference. File/PTI

Lucknow/Mathura : Challenging the BJP, Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati said on Saturday "with full confidence" that the saffron party would lose the general elections due in 2019 if ballot papers are used, instead of electronic voting machines.

Mayawati's remarks came a day after her party came second to the BJP in the civic body polls held in Uttar Pradesh. The BJP won 14 out of the 16 mayoral seats in the state. The rest were won by the BSP.

"If the BJP claims that they enjoy the mandate of the people, and the entire country is with them, then they should set aside the EVMs and hold the elections through ballot paper. And, I can say with full confidence that if the 2019 Lok Sabha polls are held by ballot paper, (the BJP) will not come to power," Mayawati claimed.

She was speaking to reporters after paying tributes to Buddhist monk Bhadant Pragyanand, who died on November 30.

Pragyanand, youngest among the seven monks who had initiated 'Babasaheb' Bhim Rao Ambedkar into Buddhism in 1956, died at Lucknow's King George's Medical University.

"We fought the urban local bodies in Uttar Pradesh on party symbol, and it makes me happy to say that along with Dalits, in cities people belonging to backward castes, the upper castes and minorities, especially the Muslims, also voted for us in large number," she claimed.

Mayawati alleged that in the urban local body polls the government machinery was "misused". "Otherwise, more of our candidates would have become mayors in the state...and we would have won more seats," she said.

On a question about forming coalition with other political parties, Mayawati said: "The BSP wants a coalition of sarv samaj - dalits, tribals, backward, minorities (Muslims), upper-castes and want to link them through bhaichara (brotherhood).

"Can there be any bigger coalition than this," she asked.

Congress leader alleges EVM tampering

Senior Congress leader Pradeep Mathur also alleged "tampering" of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the Uttar Pradesh civic polls.

"It's a clear case of EVM tampering," Mathur, the former leader of the Congress Legislature Party in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly, told reporters on Saturday.

The BJP swept the Uttar Pradesh civic polls bagging 14 mayoral seats, while Mayawati-led BSP won the mayoral posts in Aligarh and Meerut towns in western Uttar Pradesh.

The Congress leader alleged that the reliability of the election commission has become "a thing of the past".

If there was a wave of support in favor of the BJP, why the results of majority of Nagar Panchayats and Nagar Palika Parishads in Mathura went against the saffron party, he asked.

The BJP could manage to win only three of the 13 Nagar Panchayats in Mathura district.

While the mayoral poll was held through EVMs, ballot papers were used for elections to Nagar Palika Parishads and Nagar Panchayats.

Polling was held for 16 Nagar Nigams, 198 Nagar Palika Parishads and 438 Nagar Panchayats in Uttar Pradesh in three phases on November 22, 26 and 29. The results were announced on on Friday.

Akhilesh's stance

After Mayawati raised the issue of conducting elections on ballot paper, former UP chief minister and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh said that the BJP had fared well only in areas where EVMs were used.

"BJP has only won 15 per cent seats in Ballot paper areas and 46 per cent in EVM areas," Akhilesh tweeted. However, he did not mention the source of the data.

Read more: Latest national news | When original pro-Hindutva party is here, who needs a 'clone': Jaitley on Rahul's temple visits

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