Oppn demand verification of VVPAT slips before counting of votes

New Delhi, May 21 (PTI):
Leaders of as many as 22 opposition parties met the Election Commission (EC) on Tuesday and demanded verification of VVPAT slips of randomly-selected polling stations before the counting of the votes polled in the just-concluded Lok Sabha election begins on May 23.
They also demanded that if any discrepancy is found during VVPAT verification, 100 per cent counting of the paper slips of VVPATs of all polling stations of that particular Assembly segment should be done and compared with the electronic voting machine (EVM) results.
“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. During elections, there were many EVMs which malfunctioned and in many cases, when votes for one political party were cast, it showed votes for some other party, specially the BJP. “These things we have told the EC. We, in the last three-four years have been complaining about the EVMs in Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and even in states,” Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad told reporters here after meeting EC officials.
Azad’s party colleague Abhishek Singhvi said despite requests to the EC since months, the poll body has now said it will meet on Wednesday to discuss the issue.
“Even if the EC disagrees with us, then they should consider that 75 per cent of the electorate represented by these 22 parties is before you how does it matter if they change the rules? It will be only a change in guideline or procedure. It is a no-brainer. The EC has not decided for six weeks and now they are saying they will decide tomorrow,” Singhvi said.
Ahmed Patel, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ashok Gehlot, Abhishek Singhvi of the Congress, TDP’s Chandrababu Naidu, Satish Chandra Misra of the BSP, 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, Kanimozhi of the DMK, Manoj Jha (RJD), Majeed Memon (NCP), Devinder Rana (NC) were earlier part of an opposition meeting where the VVPAT issue was discussed along with larger strategy of formation of a non-BJP government at the centre.
The leaders then approached the EC to raise the issue of VVPAT.
“We are asking the EC to respect the mandate of the people. It cannot be manipulated. If there is a blood test and it shows some discrepancy, then the whole body should be scanned. Similarly, we demand that if discrepancy shows up in one VVPAT, then all of them in that assembly segment should be counted,” Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief Chandrababu Naidu told reporters.
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”.
The opposition parties also raised concerns over the transportation of EVMs ahead of counting of votes and urged the EC to probe the issue.

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