New Delhi: Congress leader Udit Raj on Wednesday stoked a controversy after he questioned, “why the Supreme Court didn’t want the VVPATs to be counted”. Taking to Twitter, the Congress leader also asked if the apex court was involved in “rigging of the polls”.
Udit Raj tweeted in Hindi, “Why doesn’t the Supreme court want all VVPAT slips to be counted, is the top court also involved in the rigging of the polls. Even if the counting of slips takes 2-3 days extra, I don’t see how it will harm the election procedure.”
This statement by the Congress leader comes amid growing demand by the opposition that the VVPATs of randomly selected polling booths be verified, before the vote counting slated for May 23, in the recently concluded seven-phased Lok Sabha elections. On May 7, the apex court had dismissed a review plea filed by 22 Opposition leaders led by N Chandrababu Naidu seeking that random matching of VVPAT slips with EVMs be increased to 50 per cent.
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The top court had on April 8 directed the Election Commission to increase random matching of VVPAT slips with EVMs from one to five polling booths per assembly segment in Lok Sabha polls, saying it would provide greater satisfaction not just to political parties but also to the entire electorate.
Meanwhile, 22 Opposition parties on Tuesday demanded that VVPAT slips at randomly selected five polling booths should be counted first, and if any discrepancy occurs, then VVPAT slips should be tallied for the entire assembly segments. In a meeting held with the Election Commission of India (ECI) yesterday, the opposition also raised concerns over reports about Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) being “replaced” at various places.
The Election Commission (EC) said it would discuss the issue on Wednesday.
“All the VVPATs should be counted at the beginning. If there are any discrepancies, total VVPAT (voter verified paper audit trail) of the entire assembly segment should be counted,” Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu told reporters after meeting the EC officials.