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Opposition Urges Election Commission to Match 50% of EVM Results with VVPAT in Lok Sabha Elections

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New Delhi: Leaders of several opposition parties, including Congress president Rahul Gandhi, approached the Election Commission (EC) on Monday to ensure that 50 per cent EVM results are matched and crosschecked with voter verifiable paper audit trails (VVPATs) before the declaration of results in the coming Lok Sabha elections.

In a letter, the parties stated that they represent “70 percent” of India’s electorate and urged the EC that after counting from the EVM machine, in case it is found that “difference of votes cast in favour of the winning candidate and that cast in favour of second position securing candidate is less than 5 per cent of votes cast”, then in that constituency, “mandatory counting of paper trail from VVPAT should be carried out in each polling station of that constituency.”

The opposition leaders said that if there was a difference in counting of votes between EVM and VVPAT, the result in counting from VVPAT would prevail.

The EC stated that it “heard the concerns of the representatives regarding the demands related to the counting of VVPAT slips”. It assured the political parties that issues raised by them will be “deliberated and examined” upon.
“While considering the averments made by the political parties, the commission shall also keep in view the pronouncements made by the different courts as well as the report expected shortly from the Indian Statistical Institute on the subject, besides the overall administrative and operational feasibility on the ground, before firming up any response,” the EC said in a statement.

The parties added that there were also reports of a mismatch between votes polled and votes counted (as per the ECI records) in Madhya Pradesh and Telangana. The instances of EVMs and strong rooms becoming vulnerable to attacks were also cited and manipulations, which were widely recorded and reported, were also highlighted by the opposition leaders.

They also highlighted incidents of power outages, failure of CCTV cameras at the strong rooms and the detection of signals of wireless/mobile networks of a particular telecom operator in the vicinity of polling centres and strong rooms.

Earlier, in different parts of the country, the spectacle of pre-programmed EVMs transferring all the votes to a particular party which is in power at the Centre, irrespective of which button was pressed, were recorded and widely circulated on social media.

The opposition leaders included Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge, Ahmed Patel and Anand Sharma, TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu, NCP’s Majid Menon, Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien, SP leader Ramgopal Yadav, BSP MP Satish Chandra Misra, National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah, CPI-M leaders Mohammed Salim and T.K. Rangarajan, RJD leader Manoj Jha, AAP MP Sanjay Singh , CPI leader D Raja, JD-S leader Danish Ali, RSP leader N.K. Premchandran, AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal and NPF leader K.G. Kenye.

On February 1, leaders of various parties had met in the Constitution Club in New Delhi and discussed their future strategy on the EVM issue.

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