Setback for Oppn Day Before Election Results as Poll Panel Refuses Change in Process of Counting Votes
A delegation comprising representatives of opposition parties had asked the commission to conduct the VVPAT verification process before the counting of votes begins.
People walk past the Election Commission of India office building in New Delhi (REUTERS)
New Delhi: In a major setback to the Opposition just a day before results of the Lok Sabha elections are announced, the Election Commission has turned down their demand to tally the VVPAT (Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail) slips before the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).
A delegation comprising representatives of opposition parties had asked the commission to conduct the VVPAT verification process before the counting of votes begins. They also demanded that if any discrepancy is found during VVPAT verification, 100 per cent counting of the paper slips of VVPATs of all polling stations of that particular Assembly segment should be done and compared with the EVM results.
The commission had then asked for time to consider the issue but after a meeting on Wednesday, the demand was rejected.
The EC, which has been facing criticism from the Opposition over free and fair conduct of polls, had on Wednesday dismissed allegations that the voting machines used in the Lok Sabha election were being switched with fresh ones ahead of counting of votes on May 23. The EC also set up a 24-hour control room to monitor complaints relating to EVMs.
“The complaints related to storage issues at strong-rooms, security of strong-rooms, permissions to candidates to post their agents at strong-rooms, CCTV monitoring, movement of any EVMs, and any complaints during counting related to EVMs can be informed at control room, number is 011-23052123 (with 5 hunting lines)," it said in a statement.
The issue of tallying VVPAT slips rose when the Opposition contended after the 2017 assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh that voting machines were tampered to favour the BJP.
As the issue went to the Supreme Court, it asked the Election Commission to increase random matching of VVPAT slips with EVMs from one to five polling booths per assembly segment in Lok Sabha polls.
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