It’s a major setback for the Opposition. Just a day before results of the Lok Sabha elections, the Election Commission has turned down the Opposition’s demand, their demand to tally the VVPAT slips before EVMs.
The delegation had asked the Commission to conduct the VVPAT verification process before the counting of votes begins. They had also demanded that if any discrepancy is found during VVPAT verification, 100 per cent counting of the paper slips of VVPATs of all polling stations of that particular Assembly segment should be done and compared with the EVM results.
The Commission said that the verification of EVM votes with VVPAT slips from five random polling booths in each assembly segment – made mandatory by the Supreme Court — will be done only after the counting of votes
Meanwhile, war of words continues. On Tuesday, a delegation comprising representatives of 22 opposition parties had asked the commission to conduct the VVPAT verification process before the counting of votes begins. In case of discrepancy, they demanded that 100 per cent votes from the assembly segment should be tallied.
BJP President Amit Shah slammed the opposition over expressing doubts on EVMs, saying the rival parties are rattled by their likely defeat and are “tarnishing” India and its democracy by raising questions on its electoral process.
In a series of tweets, Amit Shah posed five questions to the opposition parties. He said that the majority of these parties questioning the reliability of EVMs, having won elections sometime in the past by this system. Why did these parties enjoy power after winning elections if they do not believe in EVMs?
Meanwhile, the Election Commission has also said that the EVMs are completely safe.
The commission clarified some areas of concerns:
— After the close of polls, all polled EVMs and VVPATs are brought under security cover to the designated strongrooms
— The designated strongrooms are sealed with double locks, in the presence of the candidates and in the presence of Observers of EC.
— Entire process of storage and sealing of the strongroom is covered under videography
— Continuous CCTV coverage is done till completion of counting.
— Each strongroom is guarded with round-the-clock security by Central Armed Police Forces.
— Candidates or their designated agents remain present at the strongroom for 24X7 vigil at all times.
— On the counting day, the strongrooms are opened in the presence of the candidates/agents and Observer under videography.
— Before the counting of EVMs commences, the counting agents are shown the address tags, seals and serial number of the EVMs To satisfy themselves to the genuineness and authenticity of the machines used in the actual polls.
The Electoral process has already been made more robust after the EC installed VVPAT Machines along with EVMs in all polling booths. Voters can identify whether their votes are being cast for the right candidate. 5 VVPATs from each assembly constituency will be randomly matched with the corresponding EVM. The matching will ensure the complete transparency of the entire electoral process.