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22 Oppn parties approach EC, demand tallying of VVPAT slips with EVM figures before vote counting

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 21 May 2019, 04:50 PM
Representational Image
Representational Image

Allayed over EVMs being transported allegedly without security in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Bihar, as many as 22 opposition parties submitted a memorandum before the Election Commission, demanding matching of VVPAT slips with EVM figures prior to counting of votes on May 23.

The opposition requested that the verification of VVPAT slips of randomly identified five polling stations be done prior to the initiation of counting of votes and not after the completion of last round of counting.

In the memorandum, the opposition leaders have also demanded that if any discrepancy is found anywhere during the VVPAT verification, 100 per cent counting of paper slips of VVPATs of all polling stations of that assembly segment should be done.

The Opposition's move came after the Supreme Court earlier today dismissed a PIL seeking 100 per cent matching of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips with Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) during the counting of votes on May 23 for Lok Sabha polls.

The Supreme Court has asked the EC to tally the VVPAT slips with the EVM figures of five polling stations in each Assembly constituency across the country, which may delay the results.

Allgesing that the votes which were cast for the Congress went to the BJP, Ghulam Nabi Azad said: "We have requested that the verification of VVPAT slips of randomly identified (05) polling stations should be done prior to the initiation of vote counting and not after the completion of last round of counting."

Senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said the Election Commission has called the opposition parties again on Wednesday morning.

Meanwhile, BSP's Satish Chandra Mishra said: "There is large-scale bungling relating to EVMs in Uttar Pradesh. We demand deployment of central forces."

Apart from Azad, Singhvi and Satish Mishra, other opposition leaders who met the poll panel included Raj Babbar, TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu, Sitaram Yechuri, AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal, Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’ Brien and Samajwadi Party’s Ram Gopal Yadav.

The ooposition leaders said they were "concerned" over videos of alleged movement and tampering of EVMs went viral on social media, a charge dismissed by the Election Commission as "frivolous" and "unfounded".

Earlier today, a video clip of EVMs being off-loaded and put in a room inside the counting centre complex in Chandauli was doing the rounds on social media. BJP's state unit president Mahendra Nath Pandey is seeking re-election from the seat.

Another video is from Ghazipur where SP-BSP alliance candidate Afzal Ansari is seen staging protest alleging that the administration was trying to change EVMs.

In the video, Ansari and his supporters were seen having a heated exchange with a police officer. The officer is urging them to clear the area, but the leader and his supporters refuse to budge, claiming there was an attempt to take out a vehicle loaded with EVMs.

Afzal Ansari is the brother of don-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari, who is serving sentence in Uttar Pradesh's Banda jail in connection with various criminal cases and is pitted against Union Minister Manoj Sinha of the BJP.

Ansari also demanded that at least two BSP workers must be issued passes to sit near the premises where EVMs were kept in strong rooms at five different places.

Chief Electoral Officer of the state Venkateshwarlu allayed fears of political parties.

Referring to the Ghazipur incident, he said the candidate wanted more number of people to keep a watch on EVMs on the basis of his apprehensions and the DM there has satisfied him and those staging protest have returned.

On Chandauli, he said the issue pertains to unused EVMs which had been brought back and after talks they were kept separately from the used ones kept in the strong room.

There are CCTV cameras installed in strong rooms. Candidates are allowed to keep a watch on strong rooms through their representatives. All apprehensions are unfounded, he said.

"EVMS and VVPATs were sealed properly in front of political party candidates. CCTV cameras are installed ... One representative of each candidate is present. The allegations are baseless,” an EC report said.

On Chandauli, the EC report said, "Frivolous allegation by some people as EVMs are in proper security and protocol.



First Published: Tuesday, May 21, 2019 04:11 PM
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