Election Update: Unprotected EVMs to Opposition Plea for 100% VVPAT Tally

The nation is experiencing one of the most historic moments in its electoral history- the 17th Lok Sabha elections.

The nation is experiencing one of the most historic moments in its electoral history- the 17th Lok Sabha elections.  The elections that were carried out in seven distinct phases are now over and the nation waits to see who will form the next government.  

The results of the nationwide exit-polls came out on 19th of May and created a wide range of reactions among voters of different parties. The exit polls showed an overwhelming majority of the NDA.  The exit polls have created a diverse reaction from different political parties, while the NDA and its supports have gone into celebration mood, the Congress and other Opposition parties have begun questioning the impartiality of the polls, the bias reflected in the results of the exit-polls and have even decided to collectively visit the EC in this regard.

A delegation of 21 opposition parties along with the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh N Chandrababu Naidu had decided to go to the Election Commission today and try to press their demand for tallying VVPAT slips with EVM figures in an entire Assembly.

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Leaders like Sharad Pawar of NCP, Ahmad Patel of Congress, Satish Chandra of BSP, Sitaram Yechury from CPI (M), D Raja from CPI and Derek O’Brien from the TMC met the EC today.

It was on May 18th that Naidu had pleaded the EC to get the votes counted through the Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) instead of the EVMs. It was on 7th May that the SC turned down the plea by Opposition leaders to enhance the number of VVPATs verification to 50% per constituency.  The Supreme Court has dismissed the plea for VVPAT verification of all EVMs.

The petition had been filed after the Supreme Court had said that the physical counting of VVPAT slips will be limited to five in EVMs in each constituency. Earlier only one EVM in every constituency was subjected to physical verification.  

The latest development in this matter is the circulation of videos on social media platforms about the unprotected transportation of EVMs and charges of tampering.  There are allegations that the EVMs are being manipulated and stored in illegal vehicles which make them susceptible to manipulation. The EC has said that there was no possibility of this happening because they assert that all EVMs are sealed in safe locations and there is no opportunity of tampering with them. They said that such videos are nothing but baseless.

What will remain to be seen is whether the plea of the Opposition leaders to the EC today will really make a difference in its stand or not.  On 23rd May the nation will finally get to know which political party/alliance will form the next government. These elections are an extremely crucial juncture in India’s political journey and will have great implications for its future.

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