21 opposition parties meet poll panel, want 50% votes VVPAT verified
A delegation of leaders from 21 opposition parties met the Election Commission of India on Monday on the alleged tampering of electronic voting machines (EVMs). The opposition told the poll panel that there are concerns among the public over EVMs.
“If votes polled to one goes to another, it’s against democracy. We told the commission that 50% of counting should be through EVMs and 50% through VVPATs (voter verifiable paper audit trails). Then they should be cross-checked before declaration of results,” said senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad.
Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief Chandrababu Naidu said the election process for 2019 polls should completely go back to paper ballot. “Due to time constraint, we are demanding that 50% of VVPATs should be counted at random and be tallied with EVMs,” said Naidu.
The delegation met the Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and other members of the panel. The opposition parties had earlier sought moving back to the ballot paper system, but changed their strategy when chief election commissioner Sunil Arora made it clear that the election body is not going back to “the of ballot papers”.
In the days following a claim made by a US-based cyber expert that the EVMs were tampered with in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, many opposition parties demanded that the Election Commission should go back to the old practice of conducting elections through ballot papers.
However, CEC Sunil Arora had rejected the demands. “We will continue to use EVMs and VVPATs. We are open to any criticism and feedback from any stakeholder including political parties. At the same time, we are not going to be intimidated, bullied or coerced into giving up these and start era of ballot papers,” he had said.
The delegation that met the Election Commission on Monday included Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge, Ahmed Patel and Anand Sharma of the Congress, TDP boss Chandrababu Naidu , NCP’s Majid Menon, Derek O’Brien of the Trinamool Congress, Ramgopal Yadav of the Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party’s Satish Chandra Misra and others.