The leaders of the Congress and the NCP from Goa today requested the Election Commission to conduct simultaneous counting of votes from EVMs and Voters Verification Paper Audit Trail on March 11 to ensure accuracy. The leaders of both the parties called upon the full bench of the ECI, led by the Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi, in Delhi. They presented a resolution adopted by various political parties, excluding the BJP and the AAP, in Goa in a meeting held last week in Panaji.
“We demanded that counting of votes on EVMs and VVPAT machine should be conducted simultaneously, as there is a scepticism across the country about the credibility of EVMs. This would be an opportunity to ECI to prove that EVMs are reliable if the VVPAT slips and the count on EVM tallies,” AICC Secretary Girish Chodankar told PTI from Delhi after the meeting. VVPAT machines were introduced across all polling booths in Goa during the February 4 polls. Chodankar, accompanied by the NCP’s Goa unit spokesman Avinash Bhonsle, raised a question-mark on the secrecy of voting through ballot papers which is allowed for those employees of the state government who were on election duty.
The Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Goa has allowed the voting by ballot papers till few hours before the counting on March 11. However, the political parties in Goa had expressed apprehension that the employees could be pressurised to vote in favour of particular candidates. “Entire process adopted for ballot paper voting has been doubtful. There cannot be such a long period from February 4 till March 11 for the state government servants to submit their ballot papers,” Chodankar said.
He said the CEC and other officials gave them a patient hearing. Claiming that a large number of Army personnel had cast their votes in recent polls while on duty here, the Congress leader said it should have been verified whether their names were deleted from the voters’ rolls in their native places.