EVM debate resurfaces: 21 opposition parties move SC, seek directions for 50% VVPAT verification

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New Delhi | Published: April 24, 2019 3:28:24 PM

The demand by the parties comes in the peak of the election season.The first of the seven phases of the Lok Sabha polls was held on April 11. The third phase of the election was held on April 23.

EVM, lok sabha elections 2019, evms, elections in india, electronic voting in india, chandrababu naidu, chief election commissioner, sunil arora, congress, chief minister, EVM VVPAT(AP)

Opposition parties on Wednesday approached the Supreme Court seeking a directive to the Election Commission to demand counting of 50 percent of EVMs using Voter Verified Paper Audit Trails (VVPAT).

Filing a review petition, the band of 21 opposition parties have made their long-standing grievance over the credibility of the EVMs official.

In Mid-April after the first phase of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections was over, political parties such as the Congress, Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Samajwadi Party, CPI and CPI(M) had jointly held a press conference to underline the issue of transparency in the election exercise and the protection of voter rights with an appeal to “save democracy”, a report by PTI said.

Addressing the media, Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu demanded that EVMs be replaced with ballot papers and observed that only the ballot system can protect democracy.

He had alleged that technology was misused during Telangana elections on April 11 and 25 lakh votes were deleted from the electoral rolls, as per a report by The News Miniute.

“The election officials apologised when there was a gap between polled votes and the total number of votes,” he said and added that services of contract employees were used for the maintenance of EVMs,” he said.

Naidu had accused the Modi government and the EC of fraud.

Putting forth his demand to verify VVPAT paper trails of 50 percent of the EVMs, he was quoted as saying, “…we all suspect that the government of India and also the Election Commission of doing some fraud in VVPAT.”

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Delhi Chief Minister and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal who has been vocal against the use of the EVMs for quite some time accused the ruling saffron party of “programming” EVMs to win the general elections, news agency PTI reported.

On April 13, Naidu also met CEO Sunil Arora to raise his concerns over EVM malfunctioning.

The demand by the parties comes in the peak of the election season.The first of the seven phases of the Lok Sabha polls was held on April 11. The third phase of the election was held on April 23.

The Supreme Court had previously directed the poll body to increase random checking of VVPAT slips with EVMs from one at present to five polling stations per assembly segment in the Lok Sabha elections, adding that this move will give greater satisfaction to political parties and the entire electorate system at large.

What is VVPAT?
A VVPAT’s intended function is to act as an independent verification system for voting machines so that voters could verify that their vote had gone to their intended party and in this way it will help detect any election fraud or malfunction of the EVMs.

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