CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Wednesday said the Election Commission’s rejection of the Opposition demand to first count the VVPAT slips went against the “spirit” of a Supreme Court order on the devices. Also Read - MEA Gives Assent to Election Commission's Proposal Extending Postal Ballot Facility to Indians Abroad

Yechury’s reaction comes after the commission is learned to have stuck to its plan to count the voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) slips in the end and not in the beginning as demanded by the Opposition. Also Read - West Bengal BJP Writes to EC, Urges For Early Deployment of Central Forces Ahead of 2021 Assembly Polls

“This goes against the spirit of the Supreme Court Order on VVPATs delivered before polling began,” Yechury tweeted. Also Read - ‘Absolutely Critical’: Opposition Members Meet President Kovind, Urge Him to Repeal Farms Laws

“If the process has been so long drawn for the sake of integrity of the electoral process, why is (the) EC not adhering to the basic principle of testing the sample first?” the Left leader asked.

The Opposition had approached the EC on Tuesday and demanded that the five random VVPATs should be counted first so that if there is a problem or a mismatch, all such slips can be counted before it is too late.

“Integrity of EVMs by matching with sample VVPATs has to be done at the start of the counting,” Yechury said. “Doing so after the trends are declared makes it infructuous and is likely to lead to protests and a possible law and order situation from the affected candidates.”