Opposition leaders questioned reliability of of EVMs at meeting with President Pranab Mukherjee.
As parliament's Budget Session came to an end on Wednesday, opposition leaders including Congress president Sonia Gandhi headed to Rashtrapati Bhavan to complain about the "environment of fear and insecurity" in the country and accuse the Centre of harassing opposition Chief Ministers and cobbling up artificial majority in Goa and Manipur.
The opposition also raised its concerns about the security of electronic voting machines (EVM) with President Pranab Mukherjee. "We drew his attention to the recent critical developments which have seriously undermined governance and institutional integrity... voices of dissent are being muzzled," Ghulam Nabi Azad, leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha said, standing against the backdrop of Rashtrapati Bhavan.
The opposition had a long list of complaints, ranging from what it called were attempts to dent the autonomy of universities and institutions such as the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library to lumpen elements indulging in violence against people transporting cows in Rajasthan's Alwar district.
The Centre quickly dismissed the charges, calling it a disinformation campaign. "They are rejected (in elections), and dejected," Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Venkaiah Naidu said, describing the allegations levelled at the presidential meeting as "false".
The opposition called the continued violence and the failure of governance in Jammu & Kashmir a matter of national concern. At 7 per cent, the by-elections for the Srinagar parliamentary constituency held on Sunday had one of the lowest turnouts in recent decades and polls for the second seat, Anantnag, have been deferred to May.
To the opposition charge that central agencies such as the CBI and Enforcement Directorate were being used to harass Chief Ministers and political parties, Mr Naidu shot back: "What do they want? Should these agencies do nothing? They don't work by political biases".