This Article is From May 22, 2019

Elections 2019-"Enfeebled Commission": Congress Attacks Poll Body Over VVPAT Decision

The Election Commission had turned down the opposition demand for tallying the slips from the VVPAT with EVMs.

Elections 2019-'Enfeebled Commission': Congress Attacks Poll Body Over VVPAT Decision

22 Opposition parties had asked the poll body to tally VVPAT slips with Electronic Voting Machines.

New Delhi:

The Congress today launched a sharp attack on the Election Commission after it rejected a demand by opposition parties to tally Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) with Electronic Voting Machines. The opposition party referred to the poll body as "Enfeebled Commission" and said it was a "black day" for democracy.

After the poll body decision, party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi asked on what basis had the Election Commission arrived at the decision since the Supreme Court ruling on VVPAT counting did not come under Rule 56-D as cited by it.

He also asked whether the EVMs were "electronic victory machines" for the BJP and the Model Code of Conduct was "Modi's Campaign Code", alleging that the poll body had succumbed under pressure from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah. "It is a black day for democracy, and it is very sad and unfortunate for an institution like the Election Commission," he said at a press conference.

The Congress leader also alleged that the Election Commission had adopted "discriminatory" standards, "one for the aam aadmi (common man) and the other for two people, who are above the law -- the prime minister and Amit Shah".

Asked whether the Congress will move court against the Election Commission's decision, Mr Singhvi asked, "Why should we?"

He indicated that there was no enough time left to move the court. "We are appealing to the court of people. We have fought a clean battle. There is no time to go anywhere," he said, adding that the poll body decision had given rise to suspicion about its functioning.

The Election Commission is learnt to have stuck to its plan of counting the paper trail machines slips at the end of counts and not in the beginning as demanded by opposition parties.

It is also learnt to have decided to count postal ballots simultaneously with Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) count due to the "sheer size" of the ballots received this time from service voters.

Till now, the postal ballots were counted in the beginning followed by votes polled in voting machines.