- Opposition parties want VVPAT machines to be considered first
- Top Court dismissed request seeking 100% matching of VVPAT with EVMs
- Opposition delegation also flagged movement of Electronic Voting Machines
Opposition parties turned out in strength before the Election Commission today with a laundry list of demands they said were "confidence-building measures". The prime concern is the order of counting of national election votes on Thursday - the parties want the VVPAT (Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail) machines be considered first.
This morning, the Supreme Court dismissed a request seeking 100 per cent matching of VVPAT slips with the Voting Machines during counting, calling it "nonsense".
After the meeting, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said: "The Supreme Court said five random VVPATs should be counted, but the EC has said that counting will be done first and then VVPATs will be counted. We have said - let them count the five first, so that if there is a problem, we can then count all of them before it is too late."
The Commission has said they would take a call on the issue today morning, said Congress's Abhishek Singhvi.
The question of tallying VVPAT slips rose after political parties contended after the 2017 assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh that the voting machines were tampered to favour the BJP. The Supreme Court, where the matte finally went, 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.
Though the Commission argued that matching of VVPAT slips would stretch the time taken during counting, the court said it would provide greater satisfaction to political parties and the voters.
The delegation also flagged the movement of Electronic Voting Machines in five states - videos of which surface this morning -- saying it reinforced their concerns about tampering. Clips of cellphone videos showed movement of the EVMs in Punjab, Haryana, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. The Election Commission has said the movement is routine.
"Parties also spoke about how they were issues with EVMs even during polling. It was also discussed that at some polling booths, the votes were not getting registered and when a button was pressed, the vote would go to BJP," Mr Azad said.
"The BJP condemns the opposition's conduct and will tell humbly to accept their defeat with grace," Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said. "EVM is good when Mamata Banerjee became West Bengal Chief Minister twice and Amarinder Singh became Punjab chief minister... But when there is expectation that we will win because people of this country want Narendra Modi to be prime minister again, then EVM is unreliable," he was quoted as saying by news agency Press Trust of India.
The 22 political parties that are collaborating to keep the BJP out of power, took a call on meeting the Commission after exit polls on Sunday predicted an easy victory for the BJP and its allies.
The outlook for the opposition parties was dismal, with most predictions maintaining the regional parties would do badly. The broad national coalition against the BJP will win no more than 122 seats, indicated an aggregate of 13 exit polls.
Negating the opposition's claim of tampering, the Election Commission had said parties tended to blame the EVMs whenever they lost an election.
On May 23, follow NDTV for fastest election results
Follow NDTV for latest election news and live coverage of assembly elections 2019 in Maharashtra and Haryana.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for latest news and live news updates.