New Delhi: A day after exit poll results predicted the BJP-led NDA returning to power, a delegation of 21 Opposition parties, along with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu, decided to meet the Election Commission of India (ECI) to reiterate their demand of tallying Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips with Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) figures in a constituency if discrepancy is found at a booth.
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According to ANI, the meeting is scheduled at 3 PM on Tuesday. The other leaders joining Naidu include Ahmed Patel of Congress, Sharad Pawar of NCP, Satish Chandra Misra of BSP, Sitaram Yechury of Communist Party of India (M), D Raja of Communist Party of India (CPI) and Derek O’Brien of the TMC.
On May 18, Naidu had urged the EC to count votes through VVPAT instead of EVMs during counting for the Lok Sabha polls.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court had turned down a review plea by 21 Opposition parties seeking a direction to increase random physical verification of VVPAT from five to at least 50 per cent of EVMs. The review petition was filed after the Supreme Court, on April 8, directed the EC to increase physical counting of VVPAT slips to five random EVMs in each constituency.
Before that, only VVPAT slips from one EVM in every Assembly segment or constituency were subjected to physical verification.
Meanwhile, Naidu has also been meeting several Opposition leaders. On Monday, he met his West Bengal counterpart, Mamata Banerjee, at her Kolkata residence.
In his 45-minute meeting with Banerjee, Naidu is learnt to have discussed the possibilities of forming a non-BJP government with the support of the Congress.
He has held several rounds of discussions with top Opposition leaders over the past few months in a bid to form an alliance to stake claim to form the next government in case the NDA falls short of the majority mark.
On Sunday, he met UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi, besides NCP chief Sharad Pawar.
He has also met Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav in Lucknow, and Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal, Left leaders and Sharad Yadav in Delhi.
Naidu’s effort was ridiculed by Shiv Sena in an editorial in its mouthpiece Saamna which called it “entertaining news”. Sena said Naidu himself was on the brink of a defeat so his running around to cobble together an alliance was mere entertainment.
To that, Naidu had retorted that he was “1000 percent” certain that TDP was winning in his state. Andhra Pradesh Assembly elections were held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha elections. Exit polls had indicated that YSRCP could give the TDP a run for its money.