Joint Opp demands 50 per cent counter check of paper trail of all EVMs

Joint Opp demands 50 per cent counter check of paper trail of all EVMs

Agency News

New Delhi, Apr 14 : Alleging 'irregularities' in functioning of EVMs, the joint Opposition led by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Sunday expressed its displeasure with the poll panel for 'inaction' on the issue and demanded that the Election Commission must ensure at least 50 per cent counter check of paper trail of all voting machines.
'If there is a difference between EVM count and VVPAT count, VVPAT count should prevail,' the Opposition parties demanded.
Addressing a joint press conference--'Save Democracy' here, Mr Naidu said, "Very few countries have gone for EVMs."
Mr Naidu said, 'Out of 191 countries, only 18 (dismal 9.2 per cent) countries have adopted EVMs for polls.
"Names of 25 lakh voters have been removed in Telangana, Election Commission admitted to it and said sorry... Our demands about EVMs are not new,' the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister said.
Speaking on the issue at the press conference, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi
said the questions were raised after the first phase of Lok Sabha polls , '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 further alleged that the names of lakhs of voters were deleted online without physical verification.
'There is a long list the parties have given to EC. It has become even more necessary to count at least 50 per cent of the paper trail of VVPAT. We will demand the same in Supreme Court,' the Congress leader said.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who was also present at the press conference, expressed displeasure with the Election Commission for 'inaction' on EVM 'irregularities'.
"Only one party is against the counting of VVPAT slips because the EVM malfunctioning is clearly helping them," Mr Kejriwal said.
"These machines (EVM) are programmed to vote only for BJP. Why does every "malfunctioned" machine malfunctions in favour of BJP ?" the Delhi Chief Minister said.
'How can we expect free and fair elections?' Mr Kejriwal later tweeted.
Later, talking to reporters, Mr Naidu alleged that the poll panel was acting under BJP's instructions, 'They are not correct and they have to act impartially which they are not doing. Also, we doubt even EVMs are under manipulation and that is why we are demanding 50 per cent counting of VVPATs. They are not agreeing,' he further said.
On Saturday, the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister met Chief Election Commissioner here and
expressed his deep dissatisfaction over the manner in which the election process was conducted thus far and submitted an official letter to the EC raising his concerns on the same.
Mr. Naidu, in his letter, alleged ‘Systemic failures and partisan attitude of the Election Commission of India in Andhra Pradesh elections’.
'I am writing this letter with great anguish and agony. The manner in which the Election
Commission of India, a constitutional body, mandated to superintend, direct and control
the process of elections, miserably failed to live up to the spirit of the constitutional duty,
is not only disturbing but also dangerous to the future of democracy in the country,' Mr Naidu said.
Mr Naidu also said, 'We demand the Election Commission of India revert to paper ballot system immediately to preserve the sanctity and protect the spirit of electoral process and democracy respectively.'