"If the BJP is honest and believes in democracy then discard EVMs and conduct voting on ballot papers. General Elections are due in 2019, if the BJP believes people are with them, they must implement it. I can guarantee if ballot papers are used, BJP won't come to power," Ms Mayawati said this morning in Lucknow.
The BSP was referring to analysis of the BJP's win, where some have suggested that while the BJP has performed very well in the big towns where EVMs were used for voting, it has not been very successful in small towns of UP where paper ballots were used - Independents have again done very well, as they did in the previous 2012 urban body elections.
Echoing Mayawati's remarks, former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav said, "The BJP says of the total 16 mayoral elections held in UP, 14 were won by BJP, two by BSP and the Congress-SP disappeared. We say that BJP's winning percentage is about 46 per cent wherever polls were conducted via EVMs and 15 per cent when it was done via ballot papers." The Samajwadi Party has failed to win a single seat in the mayoral elections this year and it did not do well in other local body polls either.
In the election for the 16 posts of mayor, where EVMs were used, the BJP scored a massive win, bagging 14 of 16 seats, the other two posts went to the BSP. The BJP did well in these areas in the 2012 elections too, winning 10 out of the 12 posts for mayor. However, in the smaller towns where paper ballots were used and where parties apart from the BJP have also been as strong historically, the BJP has won 70 of 198 council head posts and Independents grabbed 43. Of the 5,261 council member posts, the BJP has won only 922 and Independents candidates secured win on 3,380 seats. Also, of the 438 posts of Nagar Panchayat heads, BJP won 100 and Independents 182.
Dismissing the opposition's allegations, the BJP said they are "frustrated" after a defeat in polls. Party sources also pointed out that Independents have always performed well in small town elections and they always gravitate towards the party in power in the state, which in this case is the BJP.
"The 2019 Lok Sabha polls have not even happened yet and the opposition has already started making excuses for their defeat," said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Gujarat today, reacting to Ms Mayawati's demand for a paper ballot in Lok Sabha elections in 2019.