Opposition’s demands regarding EVM-VVPAT tally rejected by EC

New Delhi: The Election Commission on Wednesday rejected the demand of opposition parties which sought to tally of VVPAT slips for an entire assembly segment if even one of the five samples does not match with votes polled in EVMs. The current provisions say five randomly-selected EVMs will be verified in each assembly segment with the VVPAT slips

The decision comes a day after leaders of 22 opposition parties, led by TDP chief and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, met EC officials and alleged discrepancies in EVM machines. They also demanded that the EVM-VVPAT tally should be done at the beginning of the process of counting. The delegation also included the leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who handed over a memorandum to the Commission enlisting their demands.

“If any discrepancy is found in the tally, then VVPAT for the whole assembly segment should be counted. We do not know what is the problem of the Election Commission? Former Chief Election Commissioner has also endorsed our demand. Former President (Pranab Mukherjee) also made it very clear that EC should keep transparency and create confidence among Indian voters,” Naidu had said after the meeting on Tuesday. In recent past, Naidu had met various leaders including Congress president Rahul Gandhi, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, and Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar over the same issue.

On May 18, Naidu had urged the Election Commission to count votes through VVPATs instead of EVMs. On May 7, the Supreme Court had turned down a review plea filed by 21 opposition parties seeking a direction to the EC to increase random physical verification of VVPAT slips from five to at least 50 per cent of EVMs.

Election to 542 Lok Sabha seats was held from April 11 to May 19 with the counting of votes scheduled for May 23.