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EC meeting Wednesday on opposition’s concern on EVMs: Congress

The Election Commission will meet on Wednesday to address the concerns raised by leaders of 20 opposition parties, who met the poll panel on Tuesday to voice their concerns over Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and use of VVPATs, the Congress said.

“We have raised these same issues in last one and half months. Why they have not responded … the Commission heard us for almost an hour. They assured us they will meet again tomorrow (Wednesday) morning to address primarily these two issues,” senior party leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi told reporters.

The delegation comprised of Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, Telugu Desam Party chief Chandrababu Naidu, Nationalist Congress Party’s Praful Patel, DMK’s Kanimozhi, Trinamool Congress’ Derek O’Brien, Samajwadi Party’s Ram Gopal Yadav, Bahujan Samaj Party’s Satish Chandra Misra, Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Manoj Jha, Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Sitaram Yechury, Communist Party of India leader D. Raja and Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal.

The delegation requested that the verification of VVPAT slips of five randomly identified polling stations should be done prior to beginning the counting of votes and not after completion of the last round.

They also sought that if any discrepancy is found anywhere during the VVPAT verification, 100 per cent counting of paper slips of VVPATs of all polling stations of that assembly segment should be done.

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Delay in poll result due to VVPAT slips counting


Nearly 24,000 staff will be engaged on counting day in Andhra Pradesh. Over 3,000 more staff will be kept ready to meet any eventuality. This time, VVPAT slips have to be counted in 5 per cent polling centres. It is expected to take 6 to 7 hours time. So, there will be a delay in announcement of results accordingly. Chief Electoral Officer Gopala Krishna Dwivedi says some constituencies may take time till after midnight for result finalisation.

As per the court orders, the VVPAT slips have to be counted in each of the assembly and Lok Sabha segments. This involves taking out the slips from VVPAT boxes and counting them manually in the presence of counting agents and officials. As this is the first time, the process may take longer time than expected.

Usually, the electronic counting through EVMs has helped in getting results within three to four hours time. In previous elections, the results were out by 11 am or so. By noon, the trends would be out whether which party would come to power. It is not yet known whether trends in EVM electronic counting would be released round-wise. Since only 5 per cent VVPAT slips are being counted, the overall trends on winning party may be known by midday itself like before. Delay may be there in final official result.

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Lapses in VVPAT slips: Re-polling at 5 polling stations in AP


Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Gopalakrishna Dwivedi has recommended to Chief Election Commission (CEC) for conducting re-polling at five polling stations. One polling station in Prakasam district and two polling stations in Guntur and Nellore each are in the list of re-polling as recommended by Dwivedi, who further said that all the electronic voting machines (EVMs) will remain in the strong rooms only.

“After considering the feedback and recommendations from all the district Collectors, we have prepared a report suggesting CEC for conducting re-polling at five polling stations in AP. We yet to receive directions from the CEC. We have also submitted a report on incidents on the polling date in Visakhapatnam, Machilipatnam and Nellore districts. The Election Commission will take stringent action against officials and staff who’re negligent in their duties on the polling day.”

Responding to recent reports about shifting of EVMs from strong rooms, Dwivedi further clarified that “there’s no need to have unnecessary fears about EVMs safety. All the EVMs will remain in the strong rooms only. In this regard, the Election Commission has directed all the officials concerned in the districts. In case, we need unused EVMs for elections in other parts of the country, then those EVMs will be shifted in the presence of all the political parties, candidates, officials and media. We have deployed tight security measures at the strong rooms. Political parties have requested for additional security at the strong rooms. We have asked the DGP for a report on this. A case has already been filed against a returning official and additional returning officer for lapses in VVPAT slips. Some tried to burn slips to ensure no evidence in this case. However, District Collector checked envelope covers and found lesser number of slips. Anyway, investigation is going on.”

The Police department has filed criminal cases against Atamakur RDO Chinaramudu, assistant election officer, Tehsildar Vidyasagar for malpractices in VVPAT slips issue.

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Future elections will be held with paper trail, EC tells political parties


The Election Commission on Friday ruled out any possibility of the EVMs being tampered with in elections even as it announced that all future elections will be held with VVPAT slips to prevent any doubts while the AAP demanded ‘hackathon’, a view others were not apparently enthusiastic about at an all-party meeting convened to discuss worries over the machines.

At the end of the day-long meeting, Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi that the poll panel will hold a “challenge” for political parties to prove their allegations that the machines were or could be tampered with.

“All future elections will be mandatorily held with VVPAT (Voter-verifiable paper audit trail),” he said.

“The Commission will hold a challenge and offer an opportunity to political parties to demonstrate that the EVMs used in the recently-concluded assembly elections were tampered or the EVMs can be tampered with even under the laid down technical and administrative safeguards,” he added.

The meeting, which lasted over seven hours, was attended by representatives of seven political parties and 35 state parties.

Zaidi said the commission has taken note of all the views of the parties and assured that their concerns and apprehensions regarding EVMs would be duly considered and addressed through the challenge and further necessary action.

At the meeting, the ruling Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi, which had sought to demonstrate in the assembly earlier this week that EVMs can be manipulated to rig results in favour of party, made a demand that the commission should provide them the EVMs used in the recent assembly elections in five states so that they could prove their point.

“Provide us the EVMs, we will show that these can be hacked. We have shown it in the assembly,” Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said and demanded a hackathon.

Congress demanded “more steps” to ensure trustworthiness of EVMs, the CPI-M said that all EVMs should have paper trail and BJP said that the machines were reliable.

National Conference leader Devender Singh Rana said after the meeting that except for BJP, almost all parties raised concerns about reliability of EVMs.

Trinamool Vice President Mukul Roy said: “EVMs are not at all reliable and strongly demanded (that) the EC start using paper ballots in all future polls.”

Janata Dal-Secular and Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party also supported going back to the ballot papers.

At the meeting, the poll panel also made a presentation on EVMs explaining its secured design feature and highlighted “technical, administrative protocol and procedural safeguards that fortify the EVMs and VVPATs against any sort of manipulation or tampering”.

It also referred to queries raised by some political parties about the incidents of alleged EVM manipulation at Bhind and Dholpur during the recently concluded bye-elections and said that “baseless perceptions were generated about these incidents.”

The meeting also discussed electoral reforms like making bribery in elections a cognisable offence and disqualification on being chargesheeted for bribery in elections.

Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Nilotpal Basu said later that candidates should be disqualified only when the legal process is exhausted and the accused is convicted.

Amid concerns raised by the opposition, the Union Cabinet had last month cleared the Election Commission’s proposal to buy VVPAT machines for the EVMs to ensure transparency in the voting process.

The proposal involves getting 16,15,000 VVPAT units for EVMs at a cost of Rs 3,173.47 crore.

The EC also referred to queries raised by some political parties about the incidents of alleged EVM manipulation at Bhind and Dholpur during the recently concluded bye-elections, reiterating that baseless perceptions were generated about these incidents.

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.



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