22 Opposition parties meet EC to demand verification of VVPAT slips before counting

The leaders of 22 Opposition parties on Tuesday submitted a memorandum before the Election Commission, seeking 100 percent matching of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips with EVMs of all polling booths of an assembly segment in case of a discrepancy.

The memorandum also requested that the verification of VVPAT slips of randomly identified (05) polling stations should be done prior to the initiation of counting of votes and not after the completion of last round of counting.

“We told the EC that the VVPAT machines should be counted first and if there is any discrepancy, then all of them in that segment should be counted,” Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad told reporters after meeting EC officials.

Telugu Desam Party’s (TDP) N Chandrababu Naidu said, “We are asking the EC to respect the mandate of people. It cannot be manipulated.”

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Satish Chandra Mishra alleged that “there is large-scale bungling relating to EVMs in Uttar Pradesh. We demand deployment of central forces”.

“We have been raising these same issues for the past one and a half months. But they are yet to respond. Strangely, today EC heard us for almost an hour and they assured us they will meet again tomorrow morning to consider our demands,” said Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi.

Among other leaders who attended the meeting were Congress’ Ahmed Patel, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ashok Gehlot, BSP’s Satish Chandra Misra, Sitaram Yechury of the CPI(M), D Raja of the CPI, Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal, Derek O’Brien of the TMC, Ramgopal Yadav of the SP and Kanimozhi of the DMK.

The Opposition meeting came on a day the Supreme Court dismissed a PIL by a Chennai-based organisation ‘Tech 4 All’, seeking 100 per cent matching of VVPAT slips with EVMs during the counting of votes on May 23.

A three-judge bench, headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi, on May 7 had dismissed a review plea filed by 21 opposition leaders seeking that random matching of VVPAT slips with EVMs be increased to 50 per cent.

Abha Boyal

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