Oppn to move SC again to seek verification of 50% of VVPAT votes

NEW DELHI, Apr 14: Persisting with their doubts over the credibility of the electronic voting machines (EVM), several opposition parties on Sunday said they will move the Supreme Court (SC) again to seek verification of at least 50 percent of the polled votes against the VVPAT slips.
Opposition parties, including the Congress, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the Samajwadi Party, the CPI and the CPI(M), jointly addressed a press conference to highlight the issue of transparency in the election process and protection of voter rights and gave a call to “save democracy.”
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal accused the BJP of “programming” the EVMs to win the Lok Sabha polls, while his Andhra Pradesh counterpart, Chandrababu Naidu, said 21 political parties have demanded matching of the VVPAT slips with at least 50 percent of the votes cast through the EVMs.
Naidu had met Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora on Saturday to raise the issue of alleged malfunctioning of EVMs.
The demand by the parties comes days before the second phase of the ongoing Lok Sabha elections on 18 April, when a total of 97 constituencies across 13 states go to polls. The first of the seven-phase polls was held on 11 April.
The SC had on Monday asked the Election Commission of India (ECI) to increase the random matching of VVPAT slips with votes cast through EVMs at five polling booths per assembly segment, from one at present, in the Lok Sabha polls.
It had given the direction saying the measure would provide greater satisfaction not just to political parties but the entire electorate.
The opposition parties, including the Congress, have been demanding that at least 50 percent of all votes polled through EVMs be verified against the paper slips of the voters’ verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines.
A VVPAT is an auxiliary, independent device linked to an EVM to allow voters to see if the votes cast by them have gone to the right candidate. The VVPATs are also meant to help detect any possible “election fraud” or malfunction of EVMs.
The ECI has decided to use VVPATs with all the EVMs in the ongoing elections to impart greater transparency and credibility to the country’s poll process.
The BJP, meanwhile, termed the opposition parties’ meet in Delhi an exercise “to find excuses for their impending massive defeat” in the Lok Sabha polls.
In a separate press conference, BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao said, “The so-called all-party meeting convened in Delhi is nothing but a confession of defeat by the so-called Mahagathbandhan.” (PTI)