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Opposition plans fresh appeal in SC seeking 50% VVPAT count

Naidu said only 18 out of 191 countries in the world have adopted EVMs for elections

Tuesday April 23, 2019 6:09 PM, IANS

VVPAT Counting Supreme Court

Mumbai: Opposition parties on Tuesday renewed their demand for verifying 50 per cent of the Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips with Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), and announced plans to launch a fresh challenge in the Supreme Court on the issue.

Coinciding with the 3rd phase of polling in the country, leaders of major national opposition parties addressed a joint press conference in Mumbai, contending that "the EVMs are susceptible to malfunctioning, manipulations and hacking".

Making a PowerPoint presentation to prove his contentions, TDP Chief and Andhra Pradesh (AP) Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu said the 23 major opposition parties will file a review plea in the apex court on the EVM-VVPAT issue and back it up with other petitions soon.

"What we are demanding is something that can be done. It is easily achievable," Naidu said.

Other opposition leaders, including Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Chief Sharad Pawar, senior Congress leader and former Union Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) Sanjay Singh launched a fresh attack on the EVM-VVPATs, claiming they are ridden with glitches and also vulnerable to programming errors.

Naidu said only 18 out of 191 countries in the world have adopted EVMs for elections, which include three of the 10 most populated nations.

"EVMs can be manipulated, hacked and they even malfunction, besides being susceptible to programming error," Naidu said, expressing concern.

He demanded to know why the voter slip in the new VVPATs is visible for only three seconds though it should be seven seconds and alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) can get votes only by manipulating EVMs.

Commenting on the issue, NCP Supremo Sharad Pawar said, "People are in a mood to change the present government. But the main worry is manipulation through EVMs."

Discussing the opposition's demand that the Election Commission of India (ECI) count 50 per cent of VVPAT slips, Shinde said it is "not an unreasonable demand."

Accusing the ECI of behaving like a "Dhritarashtra", AAP's Singh alleged that "you press any button in the EVMs but the vote goes to BJP" .

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court had directed the ECI to verify five VVPATs per constituency, against the opposition's demand for verifying 50 per cent for every constituency.

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