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LS polls: 21 Opposition parties move SC over EVM malfunctions, demand at least 50% votes be verified by VVPAT

At least 21 Opposition parties, including Indian National Congress, moved the Supreme Court over malfunctions in electronic voting machines (EVMs) and sought better  safety norms to prevent 'tampering'.

In a plea submitted to the apex court Wednesday, the parties also sought that at least 50 percent of the votes cast should be tallied with Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines to avoid any discrepancy. The parties appro­ached the top court following a decision taken at a meeting of 15 non-BJP parties held at Sharad Pawar's New Delhi residence in February.

 LS polls: 21 Opposition parties move SC over EVM malfunctions, demand at least 50% votes be verified by VVPAT

Representational image. AP

This comes after the issue of malfunctioning EVMs came to a boil once again Tuesday, during the third phase of polling, when several EVMs reportedly malfunctioned. Reports of EVM malfunctions began pouring in from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar within the first hour of voting. EVM snags were reported at booths 264, 315, 376, 320, 369 and 339 in Kasganj. Muslim voters in Kasganj claimed this could be a ploy to prevent members of the community from casting their ballots. In Bareilly, voting was halted in the early hours in Mirganj, Daulatpur and CB Ganj polling booths due to technical glitches in the EVMs. Reports of voting machine malfunctions filtered in from Bhagwanta, Fareedpur and booth 57 in Aonla constituency as well. Cases of EVM malfunction were also reported from Puri in Odisha.

In West Bengal, agitated voters protested at booth 24 in Mothabari, Maldaha, as voting did not begin till noon due to malfunctioning EVMs. The Returning Officer at booth 24, Mothabari, said EVM glitches halted voting several times, but were rectified soon.

Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister and Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav criticised the Election Commission over the reports of malfunctioning EVMs and termed it “criminal negligence”, Akhilesh questioned the scale of EVM glitches being reported from the state. Citing reports that claimed EC officials were not trained to handle EVMs, the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister wondered whether the glitches in voting machines were part of a "larger, sinister ploy".

Last Monday, the Supreme Court directed the poll panel to increase random matching of VVPAT slips with EVMs to five polling booths per Assembly segment, from one at present, in the Lok Sabha polls, saying it will provide greater satisfaction not just to political parties but the entire electorate.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Apr 24, 2019 16:01:31 IST