New Delhi: Even as an Opposition delegation met the Election Commission over tallying of Electronic Voting Machines-Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trails (EVM-VVPATs) during the counting of votes on May 23, PM Narendra Modi on Tuesday expressed concern over the “needless controversy” that had been created.
In a meeting with NDA allies and other BJP leaders, PM Modi is reported to have broached the topic as earlier in the day, leaders of 22 Opposition parties had approached the EC with their demand for 100% tallying of EVMs and VVPATs in case a discrepancy was reported. However, the BJP had condemned the move, asking the Opposition to accept their defeat with grace if Prime Minister Narendra Modi was voted to power once again.
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Slamming the Opposition parties, BJP leader and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad reportedly said, “EVM is good when Mamata Banerjee became West Bengal chief minister twice and Amarinder Singh became Punjab chief minister. If they win, EVM is good. But when there is an expectation that we will win because people of this country want Narendra Modi to be prime minister again, then EVM is unreliable.”
Hitting out at those who created the ‘needless controversy’, BJP spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao also said that the sudden mistrust of the Opposition parties is “unsurprising and unimaginary”. Rao said, “When they win, as they did in state polls recently, EVMs are trustworthy. But when they lose, they become questionable. Their selective trust in the EVMs is hypocritical and mischievous.” He added, “Their blatant effort at rubbishing the predicted pro-BJP mandate is an insult to the Indian democracy. The Opposition parties look very small not in their defeat, but in their condemnable conduct.”
Meanwhile, after their meeting with the EC, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said, “We told the EC that the VVPAT machines should be counted first and if there is any discrepancy, then all of them in that segment should be counted.”
The EC is likely to meet on Wednesday again over the delegation’s memo.
While the poll body has called all reports of alleged EVM tampering as “frivolous”, it has started a 24 hour-EVM Control Room at Nirvachan Sadan to monitor complaints relating to polled EVMs.
The complaints related to storage issues at strongrooms, security of strongrooms, permissions to candidates to post their agents at strongrooms, CCTV monitoring, movement of any EVMs, and any complaints during counting related to EVMs can be informed at control room number is 011-23052123.
Later in the day, the PM also addressed the issue at the meeting attended by other NDA allies. At the meeting, a resolution was also passed at the meeting which was attended by 36 political parties.
Proposed by BJP ally and Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan, the resolution termed the Lok Sabha Election 2019 decisive for the country, pledging to make India “strong, developed, prosperous and inclusive” by 2022 when India completes 75 years of its Independence, stated party leader and Union minister Rajnath Singh.
Soon after the meeting, the Prime Minister tweeted, “With the NDA family. Our alliance represents India’s diversity and our agenda is India’s progress. We are best suited to address regional aspirations and enhance national progress.”
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E K Palaniswami were among the BJP allies who attended the dinner-meeting hosted by BJP president Amit Shah.