Russia, which is gearing up for 2018 Presidential Elections, has requested “friend” India to share its experience in conducting “free and fair” polls through Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).
Deputy Chairman of the Russian Election Commission Nikolai Levichev said a couple of days ago that senior officials of the commission would visit New Delhi soon to learn from India’s experience. Levichev, who recently visited the South Asian country, insisted that Russia could use India’s EVM technology during the March 2018 Presidential Polls.
At the same time, the senior Russian official announced that Moscow would help India in creating a state-of-the-art tabulation system for counting of votes. He claimed that the system would help Indian Election Commission officials find faster region-wise and group-wise polling patterns.
Levichev told the local media in Moscow that he discussed the issue with top officials of different Indian ministries during his visit to the country and the Narendra Modi government in New Delhi was ready to co-operate with Russia. He stressed that the functioning of EVMs during recent elections in northern Indian province of Uttarakhand impressed him a lot. Claiming that the functioning of EVMs reduces the role of human factor, Levichev said that President Vladimir Putin asked the Election Commission to incorporate the Indian technology for the Presidential Election.
As the Russian Presidential Election will be a mammoth exercise across the country, the Election Commission has started taking necessary steps to ensure smooth functioning of the polls through the EVM technology.
In the past, neighbouring Afghanistan sought the Indian Election Commission’s service. New Delhi had sent additional ballot papers to Kabul in 2014, when the Afghan Election Commission fell short of ballot papers mainly because of overwhelming response of voters during the Presidential Polls.
Former Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) of India M S Gill has claimed that Indian EVMs are inexpensive, simple to use and robust. In an article published in a national daily on April 7, he said: “EVMs have never failed us and the world knows it, as they watch our elections closely.” He also said that India has more than 800 million voters and more than 1.2 million EVMs are used for elections. “The world admires India for this achievement,” added Gill.
The former CEC further said: “When former US President Bill Clinton came to New Delhi, at a dinner at the Rashtrapati Bhawan (Presidential Palace), he pointed at me sitting across the table and said that they envied the Indian Election Commission’s success.”