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Opposition leaders move SC for 50% VVPAT count

NEW DELHI: Twenty one non-NDA politicians led by Andhra Pradesh CM and TDP boss N Chandrababu Naidu have moved the Supreme Court searching for path to the Election Commission to count voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) slips of at least 50% of EVMs within the coming LS elections.

Though these politicians have not been able to stitch a coalition forward of the polls, it sounds as if they have got been introduced in combination by senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi for a joint push.

A bench headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi will pay attention the petition on Friday.

The petition stated these parties, in spite of their differences, were unanimous and had come ahead of the SC to seek free and honest elections.

The different petitioners are Sharad Pawar (NCP), K C Venugopal (Congress), Derek O’Brien (TMC), Sharad Yadav (Loktantrik Janata Dal), Akhilesh Yadav (SP), Satish Chandra Mishra (BSP), M K Stalin (DMK), T K Rangarajan (CPM), S Sudhakar Reddy (CPI), Manoj Kumar Jha (RJD), Arvind Kejriwal (AAP chief), Farooq Abdullah (NC), K Danish Ali (JDS), Ajit Singh (RLD), M Badruddin Ajmal (AIUDF), Jitan Ram Manjhi (Hindustani Awam Morcha), Ashok Kumar Singh (JVM), Khorrum Anis Omer (Indian Union Muslim League), K G Kenye (Naga Peoples Front) and Prof Kodandaram (Telangana Jana Samiti).

They challenged the EC’s guidelines which make it obligatory for counting of VVPATs from just one random polling station according to meeting constituency. “This translates to a real check on lower than 0.44% of EVMs within the nation,” they stated. Interestingly, the politicians cited the SC’s 2017 judgment in BJP’s Subramanian Swamy’s petition, wherein the EC used to be directed to glue VVPAT with 100% of EVMs.

The petitioners stated the EC guidelines defeated all the objective of introducing VVPAT. For some months, EVMs were on the centre of an issue with Congress leading the opposition’s attack on their integrity and tamper-proof high quality. The petitioners claimed their parties in combination represented 75% of India’s population. Interestingly, whilst different parties were represented by their best leaders, Congress determined to field K C Venugopal.

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