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21 opposition parties move SC seeking counter check of 50% EVMs using VVPATs

Twenty-one opposition parties moved Supreme Court Wednesday seeking counter checking of at least 50 per cent of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) using Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPATs) slips to ensure transparency in counting of votes. 

21 opposition parties move SC seeking counter check of 50% EVMs using VVPATs
Polling officals seal the EVM after the ballot casting for the second phase of Lok Sabha elections, in Mathura (PTI Photo)

NEW DELHI: Twenty-one opposition parties moved Supreme Court Wednesday seeking counter checking of at least 50 per cent of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) using Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPATs) slips to ensure transparency in counting of votes. 

The Opposition, who alleged glitches in EVMs and VVPATs during the Lok Sabha Election 2019, sought a court direction to the Election Commission in this regard. 

Several leaders of the Congress, Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Trinamool Congress, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] and Communist Party of India (CPI) addressed a joint press conference in this regard on Tuesday.

Alleging that EVMs are vulnerable to "hacking and programming errors", Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu said, “We have serious doubts about EVMs. I am a strong supporter of technology. But today, technology is very vulnerable. Every six months technology is changing. There are also technical problems, vulnerability and also malfunctioning. Only three countries out of the ten most populous countries in the world use EVMs. These countries are also not technologically strong."

He added that Russian hackers could be involved in hacking. 

NCP president Sharad Pawar said while citizens are in a mood to change the Modi-led government, manipulation of EVMs is the "only worrying factor".

"Our only worry is someone misusing this technology to manipulate elections...Our worry is manipulation through these machines," Pawar said.

Senior Congress leader Sushilkumar Shinde, AAP's Sanjay Singh, TMC MP Nadimul Haque, Mahendra Singh of the CPI(M) also spoke at the joint conference.

Samajwadi party chief Akhilesh Yadav also alleged that EVMs in several areas were recording “votes in favour the BJP” amid reports of glitches. “EVMs across India malfunctioning or voting for the BJP. DMs say poll officials untrained to operate EVMs. 350+ being replaced. This is criminal negligence for a polling exercise that costs 50,000 crs,” the former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh tweeted.

The Supreme Court had increased the VVPAT from one EVM per Assembly segment to five randomly selected EVMs on April 8. The court said it was being done to ensure a high degree of accuracy and satisfaction in the election process.