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Election Tracker LIVE: 21 Opposition Parties Approach SC Over Use of VVPATs in Counting


Last Updated: March 14, 2019, 19:37 IST

File photo of the Supreme Court of India.

File photo of the Supreme Court of India.

Election Tracker LIVE: Over 10 Opposition Parties Approach Supreme Court Over Use of VVPATs in Counting

Election Tracker LIVE: With less than a month to go for the general elections, 21 opposition parties have approached the Supreme Court, asking that 50 per cent of VVPAT (voter verified paper trail audit machines) slips be tallied with the Electronic Voting Machines. The court will hear their petitions tomorrow. The parties that went to court include the Congress, Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party, Sharad Pawar’s NCP, Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party, the Left parties, Samajwadi Party and Mayawati.

A high-level team of the Election Commission led by a deputy election commissioner will be in West Bengal, Assam, Tripura and Manipur in the coming days to assess poll preparedness, official sources said Thursday. The decision to send Deputy Election Commissioner Sudip Jain comes a day after the BJP urged the poll watchdog to declare West Bengal a “super sensitive state".

Former Delhi chief minister and the head of the Congress unit in the national capital, Sheila Dikshit, has made a startling admission in an interview with CNN-News18. She accepted that former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was not as tough on Pakistan and terror as his successor Narendra Modi. But she said that the action taken by Modi has been more for political gains.

The Nationalist Congress Party has released its first list of candidates for the Lok Sabha election, a day after alliance partner Congress fielded five candidates from the state. The NCP list of 12 names includes one seat for the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, which has fielded a candidate from Hatkanangale. The party said discussions are still underway and the party is likely to release its second list on Friday.

Even as Rahul Gandhi is campaigning in Kerala ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, Congress spokesperson Tom Vadakkan switched over to the BJP camp on Thursday. “Hurt” over Congress questioning the armed forces in the aftermath of Pulwama terror attack, Vadakkan joined BJP in the presence of Ravi Shankar Prasad. He also slammed the Congress for its “dyansty politics", alleging the party has a culture of “use and throw". Vadakkan, who was a key aide of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, has never contested an election.

Earlier on Thursday, the Bharatiya Janata Party hit out at Rahul Gandhi after the Congress chief said a “weak” Prime Minister Narendra Modi was scared of Xi Jinping and “not a word comes out of his mouth when China acts against India”. Gandhi’s statement came after China, for the fourth time, blocked the move of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to designate JeM chief Masood Azhar as a terrorist. The BJP, responding to the charges, said the Congress president should have used his proximity with China to influence its decision on Azhar.

Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad asked Congress could still speak a different tone even in case of a cruel killer and global terrorist like Azhar. Adding that he needed to learn that foreign policy was not run on Twitter, Prasad said Gandhi must look at his party’s history vis-à-vis China.

Meanwhile, Gandhi addressed a fishermen’s parliament in northern Kerala on Thursday and is scheduled to visit the families of Youth Congress activists allegedly killed by CPI(M) men.

The political parties have been campaigning in full swing since the Election Commission announced the dates for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Lok Sabha elections will begin on April 11 and polling would be held over seven phases through May 19, followed by counting of all votes on May 23. Assembly polls in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal, Odisha and Sikkim will also be held simultaneously, the Election Commission (EC) said. However, elections for the Jammu and Kashmir assembly, which was dissolved after the ruling coalition between the BJP and the PDP fell apart, will not be held along with the Lok Sabha polls.

The election will pit the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance against several opposition parties, including the Congress, the Left and regional forces who are continuing to work out a grand alliance to minimise a division of votes against Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led ruling combine.

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