Opposition party demands cent per cent VVPAT count in case of mismatch

New Delhi: Leaders of 22 major opposition parties on Tuesday met the Election Commission and demanded that the VVPAT of an entire assembly segment should be counted even if one of the five samples does not match the EVM.

They also demanded that the EVM-VVPAT tally should be done at the beginning of the process of counting.

The delegation led by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu which also included the leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal handed over a memorandum to the Commission.

“If any discrepancy is found in the tally, then VVPAT for the whole assembly segment should be counted. We do not know what is the problem of the Election Commission? Former Chief Election Commissioner has also endorsed our demand. Former President (Pranab Mukherjee) also made it very clear that EC should keep transparency and create confidence among Indian voters,” Naidu told reporters after the meeting.

Naidu said that if any discrepancy is found anywhere during EVM-VVPAT verification, then 100 per cent counting of paper slips of VVPATs of all polling stations of that assembly segment should be done.

“We are asking to respect the mandate. People’s mandate cannot be manipulated. The EC is saying one blood sample is enough but if that sample is showing total pollution in the body, then you have to scan the whole body,” he said.

Naidu said the Commission has a problem with the demand of tallying votes registered in electronic voting machines (EVMs) with that of voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) slips.

Naidu said: “We have a very genuine demand. We have repeatedly made representation to the EC and have even gone to the SC. We want that tallying of five EVM-VVPAT machines should be made at the beginning of the counting, but the EC has a problem.”

Prominent opposition leaders who were also present on the occasion included Abhishek Manu Singhvi of Congress, Satish Chandra Misra of BSP, Prof Ramgopal Yadav of the Samajwadi Party, Prof Manoj Jha of RJD and Sitaram Yechury of the CPM.

Earlier, the opposition leaders met at the Constitution Club and decided to take up the issue with the Election Commission.

Singhvi, speaking on the occasion, said: “If the subset is found poisonous, then the whole sample is discarded.”

In recent past, Naidu had met various leaders including Congress president Rahul Gandhi, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, and Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar.

On May 18, Naidu had urged the Election Commission to count votes through VVPATinstead of EVMs during the counting of votes polled in the Lok Sabha elections. The counting of votes will take place on May 23.

On May 7, the Supreme Court had turned down a review plea filed by 21 opposition parties seeking a direction to the EC to increase random physical verification of VVPATfrom five to at least 50 per cent of EVMs.