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Maha leaders hail SC notice to ECI on EVM-VVPAT as 'boost to poll fairness’


Maha leaders hail SC notice to ECI on EVM-VVPAT as 'boost to poll fairness’

Mumbai, April 2 (IANS) The Opposition parties and experts in Maharashtra on Tuesday welcomed the Supreme Court notice to the Election Commission of India (ECI) on petitions seeking the counting of votes cast in Electronic Voting Machines along with all the Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT).

The Opposition leaders rued that the ECI has been consistently ignoring their plea for the same, claiming that the apex court order will help restore public confidence as the country goes for the Lok Sabha elections this month onwards.

The National President of the Council for Protection of Rights (CPR), Barrister Vinod Tiwari, said the ECI’s adamant stance on the issue is suspicious and difficult to gauge given the anti-EVM chorus for the past 10 years.

“Nearly six weeks before the elections were announced, the CPR had sent a representation to the ECI on February 8 on the issue, and the SC’s notice today is a big step forward to strengthen the democratic process. The ECI must bow before the people’s wishes in a democracy,” said Barrister Tiwari.

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Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Priyanka Chaturvedi pointed out how the ECI even refused to meet the opposition INDIA bloc leaders on the issue though it’s a matter of national importance to ensure a free and fair election without leaving any doubts in the people’s minds.

“The ECI had claimed that verifying all the VVPATs along with the EVM vote count would not be of significant advantage. The Chief Election Commissioner even recited a poem penned by him to mock the valid concerns on EVMs, though it is the ECI’s duty to ensure a credible election and its outcome,” said Chaturvedi.

Congress’ chief spokesperson Atul Londhe pointed out that “free and fair elections is the prime requisite for a healthy democracy”, but many doubts have been raised over EVMs in the past 10 years in various fora.

“If there are nagging doubts in the public mind, it’s important to remove them, especially since the process for appointments to the ECI (panel) was changed recently with the removal of the Chief Justice of India. People are also questioning why there are four BJP-linked directors appointed on the board of BEL, which manufactures the EVMs,” said Londhe.

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The Nationalist Congress Party (SP) spokesperson Clyde Crasto said that the Constitution and democracy are safe because of the SC, which is working in the public interest, as proved by its decision on the Electoral Bonds issue, and now the notice to the ECI on the EVM-VVPAT row.

“This has been a long-pending demand from the opposition parties, experts, and the people at large. It is imperative to tally 100 per cent EVM votes with the VVPATs. If these don’t match, it would expose that there has been rigging,” pointed out Crasto.

The President of the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA), Prakash Ambedkar, also welcomed the SC ruling on the EVM-VVPAT matter which his party had raised several times in the past.

“It is good that the SC is seized of the matter. We hope that the direction to count (100 per cent) VVPATs will be issued before the date of counting (June 4) for the Lok Sabha elections,” said Ambedkar.

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Chaturvedi and Barrister Tiwari said that the government has already spent around Rs 5,000 crore of public funds to buy around 2.40 million (24 lakh) VVPATs, but the present system of counting of barely 20,000 VVPATs is too small a sample size.

They feel that the tiny sample “fails to inspire people’s confidence”, and hence the SC must ensure that it gives a suitable verdict soon to the ECI in the interest of the masses, democracy, and the Constitution.

(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at:



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