Opposition to move SC demanding more VVPAT checks

New Delhi | Updated on April 14, 2019

Demands that 50 per cent of the votes polled be verified through VVPATs

The Opposition parties have decided to step up pressure on the Election Commission (EC) to verify at least 50 per cent of the votes polled in electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verified Paper Audit Trails (VVPAT).

Led by the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the Opposition has also decided to approach the Supreme Court yet again with this demand.

‘Bring in paper ballot’

Addressing reporters here on Sunday, Naidu said his agitation is to replace EVMs with ballot papers and reiterated that only the ballot system can protect democracy.

He alleged that technology was misused during Telangana elections and 25 lakh votes were removed from the electoral rolls. “The election officials apologised when there was a gap between polled votes and the total number of votes,” he said and added that services of contract employees were used for the maintenance of EVMs.

“Who will be responsible for such wrong doings? The EC should own the responsibility,” he said.

Naidu said developed countries such as Germany shifted to ballot papers. “There should be transparency in election process. The EC lost credibility with the malfunctioning of EVMs at most of the places in Andhra Pradesh,” he added.

The Opposition Leaders maintained that EVMs can be tampered by managing micro-controllers and chips. “The BJP government failed to honour the demand of Opposition parties to reintroduce ballot system. The Modi government has been harassing Opposition Leaders through Income Tax and ED raids. Around 20-30 per cent EVMs did not function during elections in Andhra Pradesh,” he alleged.

Naidu said the EC transferred officials in AP without the consent of the State government. He said the EC failed to protect the democratic system.

The State government will file a petition in the Supreme Court demanding that at least 50 per cent of the votes should be compared with VVPAT slips. He said his party will launch an agitation for transparency in elections.

Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi, who was also present, said 21 Opposition parties will approach the Supreme Court jointly to seek a direction to the EC for counting of at least 50 per cent of the VVPAT slips with the EVMs in every Assembly segment. “We do not think the EC is doing enough to address issue of EVM malfunctioning,” Singhvi added.

‘Only one party benefits’

Kejriwal said only one party gets the benefit of the EVMs. “Only one party is against the counting of VVPAT slips and that party is getting the profit from this. I am an engineer. I also understand a few things. There are some problems in the process,” he alleged.

Published on April 14, 2019

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