Leaders of 22 opposition parties met the Election Commission officials on Tuesday over reports of alleged tampering of voting machines. They demanded that if any discrepancy is found during VVPAT verification, 100 per cent counting of the paper slips of all polling stations in that assembly segment should be done and compared with the EVM results.
“We raised these same issues in last one-and-a-half months. We asked Election Commission why have they not responded. Strangely, EC heard us for almost an hour and assured us they will meet us again tomorrow,” said senior Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi.
Telugu Desam Party chief Chandrababu Naidu said the opposition parties have asked the EC to “respect the mandate” of the people and it “can’t be manipulated”.
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.
“The CJI had dealt with this matter. Why are you taking chance before a two-judge vacation bench. We will not list any such case for urgent hearing. We cannot override the CJI’s order…This is nonsense,”said a vacation bench comprising justices Arun Mishra and M R Shah.
The Election Commission had “emphatically and unambiguously” clarified that the reports and allegations of EVM movement are “absolutely false, and factually incorrect”.
“All polled EVMs and VVPATs are brought under security cover to the designated strongrooms, which is sealed with double locks, in the presence of the candidates and in the presence of observers of the Election Commission. Each strongroom is guarded with round-the-clock security by Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF). Further, the candidates or their designated agents remain present at the strongroom for 24X7 vigil at all times,” the statement by the poll panel said.