Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu continued to voice his suspicions about alleged manipulation of EVMS, even as he said on Monday political parties are now busy protecting the machines as there were rumours that data stored was being changed using a frequency.
The TDP chief claimed manipulating an electronic voting machine was as easy as tapping a phone and reiterated his demand for 50 per cent voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) verification in the Lok Sabha polls.
His statement comes in the wake of exit polls forecasting another term for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with some of them projecting that the BJP-led NDA will get more than 300 seats to comfortably cross the majority mark of 272 in the Lok Sabha.
At a press conference, Naidu, who is spearheading an effort to cobble up an anti-BJP front, said the opposition parties were working towards a viable alternative and continuing discussions.
Raising suspicions about the EVMS, the chief minister said “There are various rumours. Some in Delhi say they are placing new EVMs and new control units. When asked how they say they are doing it…Some say we changed all votes (in EVMs) using frequency from outside….that was what they were talking in the bazaar (market).”
As such, all political parties were now busy in protecting the EVMs, Naidu said.
“Political parties are now thinking how to protect EVMs. They think if they sit there (near the strong rooms), nobody will take away the EVMs. They may not take away the EVMs but what if they change (data) through frequency? Chances of taking away EVMs are less but chances of changing the data through frequency are more,” Naidu claimed.
He said Rs 9,000 crore was spent on procuring the VVPATs.
“Are they ornaments for us? That much luxury for us,” he wondered.
“Are heavens going to fall if it takes six more hours for counting VVPATs? When we waited for 73 days (completion of polling process), can’t we wait for two more days? Administration has come to a standstill for 73 days. What’s the loss if we wait for 2-3 days? Why should it be taken as an excuse? Thats what I am asking,” Naidu said.
Considered tech-savvy, Naidu claimed manipulating an EVM was as easy as tapping a phone.
He said only political leaders so far had doubts over the EVMs but now all people were raising doubts.
“So now, only way is perfectly counting the EVMs and VVPATs,” he said.
The Supreme Court recently junked some opposition parties’ review plea for 50 per cent VVPAT verification in the Lok Sabha polls.
Twenty-one opposition leaders, including Chandrababu Naidu, had filed a plea seeking review of the apex court’s April 8 order directing the Election Commission to increase random matching of VVPAT slips with EVMs to five polling booths per assembly segment.
The opposition parties had demanded that the number be raised to 50 per cent of total booths.
The chief minister claimed that the apex court did not say 50 per cent VVPATs (in a constituency) should not be counted. It only said it asked for counting in five booths, he added.
“Civil society is now asking for 100 per cent VVPAT counting. We are asking at least 50 per cent,” the TDP chief said.
“Our demand is very clear. If there are any discrepancies, put them all online. It is ECIs responsibility to increase credibility. People should believe you did well,” he said.
The TDP had earlier alleged large-scale EVM malfunctioning in Andhra Pradesh during the April 11 elections for the 25 Lok Sabha seats and to elect a new 175-member Assembly.
Replying to a question, Naidu said the non-BJP parties were working towards an alternative.
“We want to take it forward logically. It (talks) will continue till 23rd (May). We are talking one-to-one, various parties are discussing, like-minded parties being consulted…everything’s happening. What is practical, what is viable…” Naidu added.