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Sharad Pawar Questions EVM Veracity, Says Opposition Will Meet for Discussion in Delhi

Sharad Pawar addressing NCP workers said it needed to be figured out what transpired after a voter pressed the button against the name of a candidate of his choice and it got reflected on the VVPAT.

PTI

Updated:June 10, 2019, 9:31 PM IST
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Sharad Pawar Questions EVM Veracity, Says Opposition Will Meet for Discussion in Delhi
File photo of NCP president and former Maharashtra CM Sharad Pawar.
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Mumbai: NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Monday once again questioned the veracity of EVMs and said the issue would be discussed by Opposition parties in Delhi in the presence of experts and technocrats, days after the BJP swept the Lok Sabha polls.

Addressing a convention of NCP workers marking the 20th anniversary of the party, Pawar said it needed to be figured out what exactly transpired after a voter pressed the button against the name of a party candidate of his choice and it got reflected on the VVPAT.

His nephew Ajit Pawar, however, appeared to be on the different page on the issue and questioned the criticism of the EVMs.

Ajit asked NCP workers not to waste their time in thinking much over the outcome of the general elections, but instead focus on winning more seats for the party in the Maharashtra assembly elections, due in September-October this year.

Pawar told the party workers that he had spoken to several experts after the poll outcome.

In Maharashtra, the NDA combined won 41 out of total 48 Lok Sabha seats while the NCP managed to retain four.

The NCP chief said apparently there was nothing wrong about the poll process till a voter presses the button against the name of a candidate of his/her choice and the same gets reflected on the VVPAT (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail) equipment.

"In a polling booth, there sits an officer who has a machine before him...When you press the button on an EVM, it gets reflected on VVPAT and from there it is transferred there (to the machine before the officer)," Pawar said. "...and votes are counted from that machine. Now do you have any idea what is transferred there (to the machine before the officer)? The problem lies there. It needs to be figured out what happens in this stage," he added.

The former Union minister said doubts should not creep in the minds of people about EVMs in a Parliamentary democratic set up.

He said the people should not be made to feel that the vote they cast for one party got reflected into other party's tally.

"People might keep quiet now, but they may take law into their hands. This should not be allowed to happen. We have to preserve democracy," he added.

NCP leader Dhananjay Munde termed the BJP's win in the general election as the "victory" of the party's "EVM manipulation".

Maharashtra NCP president Jayant Patil claimed that even those who campaigned for the BJP were wondering how NDA constituents polled a large number of votes.

Ajit asked party workers to focus on future elections.

"Three months ago the Congress won elections in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, while the TRS formed government in Telangana. In Telangana, the daughter of its Chief Minister (K Chandrashekhar Rao) lost the Lok Sabha polls. How come the EVM is fine when you get elected and blame it when you lose the poll?" Ajit Pawar asked.

"This could be a separate issue. But, as the EVMs are being blamed, my request to you (workers) is we shouldn't fall short of our efforts to win the Assembly polls," he added.

Ajit also maintained the people had made up their mind to re-elect Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister and chose their local MPs accordingly.

He trashed reports about the NCP's likely merger with the Congress saying the party would retain its independent existence.

Meanwhile, Pawar alleged the BJP retained power by fanning nationalistic sentiments while the Opposition parties flagged public concerns.

He raised concerns over the BJP giving ticket to the Malegaon blast accused Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur from Bhopal seat, and her subsequent poll victory.

On the occasion, the NCP chief stressed on increasing the base of his party in urban pockets and asked party workers to work hard to get more seats in the Brihanmumbai Municipal

Corporation (BMC).

He called for giving more opportunities to young generation into the party organisation and assembly polls.

Pawar also pitched for increased use of social media to reach out to the people.

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