Leaders of Opposition parties on Tuesday raised concerns on alleged manipulation of Electronic Voting Machines and renewed their demand that the Election Commission cross-check at least 50% votes using Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail slips, NDTV reported. They said they will approach the Supreme Court again on this matter.
Leaders of the Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Telugu Desam Party, the Trinamool Congress, Aam Aadmi Party, Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam addressed a joint press conference in Mumbai.
Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar said the people are in a mood for a change in the government at the Centre and the state. “Our only worry is someone misusing this technology to manipulate elections...Our worry is manipulation through these machines [EVMs],” Pawar said, according to PTI.
Telugu Desam Party chief N Chandrababu Naidu said Electronic Voting Machines were vulnerable to programming errors and that the Bharatiya Janata Party can get votes only through manipulation.
“EVMs can be manipulated, hacked and they even malfunction, besides being susceptible to programming error,” Naidu said, according to IANS. Naidu said only 18 out of 191 countries in the world have adopted electronic voting machines for elections and these include three of the 10 most populated nations.
Naidu, who is the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, said instances of EVM “malfunctioning and selective manipulation” of the machines were reported in the first three phases of polling in his state, Kerala, Goa and Uttar Pradesh.
Naidu said the Modi government was “very dangerous” and alleged that democracy was in peril and being mocked under the present regime.“To save democracy, we are asking Election Commission to counter-check at least 50% of all the VVPAT slips,” he said. “And also, if there is any difference between [count of] EVMs and VVPAT slips, then the VVPAT trail has to prevail.”
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court had ordered that Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail slips of five electronic voting machines in every constituency be counted instead of just one EVM in the ongoing elections. The court said this practice will ensure the “greatest degree of accuracy, satisfaction” in the election process. The court passed the order on a petition filed by 21 Opposition parties who sought direction to verify at least 50% of the votes cast in the Lok Sabha elections using the VVPAT machines.
Congress leader Sushilkumar Shinde said the Opposition’s demand that 50% votes be verified through VVPAT slips is “not an unreasonable demand”, IANS reported.
Aam Aadmi Party leader Sanjay Singh accused the Election Commission of behaving like Dhritarashtra, a king in the Hindu epic Mahabharata. Singh said: “You press any button, the vote goes to the BJP.”