Written byShalini Ojha
A day before counting for Lok Sabha elections is scheduled to begin, the Election Commission on Wednesday rejected the demand of 22 Opposition leaders.
The leaders wanted the polling body to first verify Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips and then start counting.
But the EC said there will be no change in the traditional process and VVPAT slips will be verified later.
Opposition leaders including Congress' Ghulam Nabi Azad, DMK's Kanimozhi, and AAP's Arvind Kejriwal turned up at EC's doors on Tuesday and submitted suggestions.
"The Supreme Court said five random VVPATs should be counted. We have said - let them count the five first so that if there is a problem, we can then count all of them before it is too late," Azad said.
"Parties also spoke about how there were issues with EVMs even during polling. It was also discussed that at some polling booths, the votes were not getting registered and when a button was pressed, the vote would go to BJP," Azad added.
After speaking with the leaders, the polling watchdog said it needed time to think about it. On Wednesday, a meeting was convened which was attended by all three Election Commissioners.
Giving much thought to the demand, EC said it will not tally VVPATs before the counting begins.
Notably, every assembly constituency has five randomly selected EVMs which are attached to VVPATs.
As it turns out, the Supreme Court also junked a similar plea on Tuesday.
A few technocrats filed a writ petition in front of vacation bench of Justices Arun Mishra and MR Shah and requested that all EVMs should be verified by VVPATs.
Terming the plea "nuisance", the bench said, "Let the Country elect its government."
The action of Opposition leaders gave BJP members a chance to berate them.
Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad asked how come no one complained about EVMs when Trinamool's Mamata Banerjee and Congress' Captain Amarinder Singh became Chief Ministers.
"The BJP condemns the Opposition's conduct and will tell humbly to accept their defeat with grace," Prasad quipped.
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