The Election Commission of India has been granted Rs 1009 crore to purchase new Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). This step has been taken to update the old machines before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The purchase will take place through Bharat Electronic Ltd (BEL), Bengaluru and Electronics Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL), Hyderabad.
According to the Saturday’s approval,the election body has been assigned to buy 4,10,000 Ballot Units (BUs) and 3,14,000 Control Units (CUs) during 2017-18 and 4,35,306 Ballot Units and 71,716 control units during 2018-19. It will be a conjectural unit cost of Rs 7,700,and Rs 9,300 respectively. The approximate cost will be will be Rs 1,009.6 crore.
On Wednesday, The Union Cabinet has also given the poll body the authority to choose and to decide the amount to be ordered on BEL and ECIL as well. The decision should be based on their production capacity,and past performance in supply of machines. This will help Commission to manage everything. The Law Ministry stated to The Indian Express, “This would facilitate phasing out of obsolete electronic voting machines procured during 2000-2005. It will enable the Commission to replenish the stock with a view to meet the requirement of conducting General Elections to Lok Sabha and some of the state assemblies due in 2019”.
On July 20, the Union Cabinet had approved a similar proposal out by Election Commission to buy nearly 14 lakh new EVMs, the first tranche at a cost of Rs 9,200 crore during 2016-17 as well.
Now that Gujarat CM Narendra Modi is BJP’s self-appointed prime ministerial candidate, he has taken up the task to advice BJP on a matter or two. In a BJP meeting on Sunday, Modi said that over 100 Muslim councillors won in Gujarat’s local body elections with the support of BJP and this was possible only because of the Saffron party’s efforts to reach out to the Muslim minority.
He suggested that if 25% of minority voters had supported BJP in Gujarat, the same could be possible in other states too. “We should not divide communities but ensure all sections are represented,” he said.
His ‘tainted’ past may enrage his rivals but Modi insisted that BJP benefits from a significant number of Muslim voters who are convinced of the party’s reputation and this shows results in local body elections with the election of Muslim councillors. Similarly, Modi also suggested that the party should focus on Dalits as well.
Like before, Modi said that BJP did not have much time to get its act together as the countdown for the Lok Sabha elections was ticking away. Modi also stressed the importance of social media in forming opinion, at least in urban areas.
If Modi’s suggestions are being termed as a strategy to win “272 plus seats” for Lok Sabha elections next year, BJP is also not getting a breather either from garnering negative criticism.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said that BJP’s communal politics is a strategic step towards ripping the country apart. At the Maharashtra Pradesh Mahila Congress Committee on Sunday, Chavan stressed that the saffron party is trying to misdirect the nation as its leadership has gone for a toss.
“Citizens gave a chance to the BJP to prove its leadership. They were fed up with the BJP’s religion and caste-based politics. They realized that the BJP-led governments failed to take up the challenges to lead the country and the state,” he said.
Chavan also opposed the development model, ‘Vibrant Gujarat’ and disapproved of Modi’s criticism of PM Manmohan Singh’s Independence Day speech at the three-day workshop.