To move SC to seek verification of 50% of votes by paper trails
Several Opposition parties led by Telugu Desam Party (TDP) on Sunday said they will move the Supreme Court again to demand verification of at least 50 per cent of votes by paper trail since credibility of EVMs are still doubted.
Opposition parties, including the Congress, Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Samajwadi Party, CPI and CPI(M) came together to highlight the issue of transparency in the election process and protection of voter rights with a call to “save democracy”.
The ruling dispensation BJP, however, termed the Opposition parties meeting an exercise “to find excuses for their impending massive defeat” in the Lok Sabha polls. The party said Opposition alliance is a misnomer because most of them are fighting elections separately. Opposition parties, including the Congress, have been demanding that all votes polled through EVMs be verified with at least 50 per cent voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPATs).
A VVPAT is intended as an independent verification system for voting machines designed to allow voters to verify that their vote was cast correctly and will help detect any possible election fraud or malfunction of EVMs.
Congress leaders and senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Singhvi said Opposition parties will approach the SC seeking direction to the EC for counting of at least 50 per cent of the VVPAT slips with the EVMs in every Assembly segment. “If the EC will ignore this issue then we will take other measures. We will not sit quietly. We will approach the SC,” said Sibal.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP supremo N Chandrababu Naidu, a key interlocutor of the Opposition, said EVMs are not reliable and Opposition parties are not satisfied with the SC order directing the EC to increase the number of EVMs randomly verified from 1 to 5 per Assembly constituency. He said a fresh petition will be filed in the matter. “We are raising doubts about the EVMs. The confidence of the voter can only be restored through paper trail machines,” Naidu said.
On Saturday, he had met Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora to raise the issue of EVM malfunctioning. The demand by the parties comes in the peak of the election season. The first of the seven phases of the Lok Sabha polls was held on April 11. The SC on Monday directed the EC to increase random matching of VVPAT slips with EVMs to five polling booths per Assembly segment, from one at present, in the Lok Sabha polls, saying it will provide greater satisfaction not just to political parties but the entire electorate.
Singhvi said the Opposition parties will carry out a nationwide campaign on the issue of discrepancies in EVMs. “Questions were raised after the first phase of elections, we don’t think the EC is paying adequate attention. If you press the button before X party, vote goes to Y party. VVPAT displays only for 3 seconds, instead of 7 seconds,” he said.
BJP spokesman GVL Narashimhan Rao said, “The so called all party meeting convened in Delhi is nothing but a confession of defeat by the so called Mahagathbandhan.
“They are already trying to find excuses for their impending massive defeat. They have not only failed to mount a challenge against the BJP in this election but have also failed as an Opposition in the last five years.”
Monday, 15 April 2019 | PNS | New Delhi
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