After SC junks plea, Opposition parties to approach Poll Body, Public on 50% VVPAT Verification Issue

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New Delhi, May 7 (IANS) Opposition leaders on Tuesday asserted that they would approach the Election Commission and will go public over the matter after the Supreme Court rejected their demand to increase the count for VVPAT slips with EVMs.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party President N. Chandrababu Naidu said that the petition was aimed at bringing “transparency” in democracy.

“What we are asking is a genuine demand. We are fighting for this on behalf of the nation. We will continue our fight,” he told reporters here after the court’s decision.

Naidu said the opposition parties would approach the Election Commission (EC) again.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi declined to increase the count for the verification of voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) slips with electronic voting machines (EVM) in the ongoing Lok Sabha polls.

Earlier, it had increased VVPAT from one EVM per Assembly segment to five randomly selected EVMs to ensure the greatest degree of accuracy and satisfaction in the election process.

The court on Friday had agreed to hear a review petition by 21 opposition parties seeking verification of 50 per cent EVMs using VVPAT slips.

Commenting on the court’s decision on Tuesday, former Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister and National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah said the elections should be fair for every political party and the EVM issue will be taken to the people now.

“We respect the order of the court. But we have to take this to the people of the country and put this before them because they are supreme.”

Congress leader and senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the opposition leaders, argued before the court that the demand of the leaders was viable, reasonable and meaningful.

Later, speaking to reporters, he said that the options of going public on the issue and approaching the Election Commission were still open.

“The court has closed the matter as far as this stage is concerned. Obviously, messaging of the issue to the electorate at large politically is open, and whatever is available with the Election Commission will be done,” he said.

Earlier the Top Court had sought a response from EC over the demand. The Poll Body in response to the Top Court said that 50% verification of VVPAT in every assembly constituency will delay the Lok Sabha election results by 5-6 days.

VVPATs is a unit attached to EVMs and Control Units and it enables the voter to see the name of Candidate and Party to who is vote cast to.

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