Opposition seeks VVPAT slips counting, even delay in results

Responding to Election Commissions response to the Supreme Court that counting of VVPAT slip of 50 per cent may delay counting of votes to five days, the opposition parties today said that such delay may be acceptable as that will help ensure the sanctity of a free and fair contest.

Submitting their official response to the Supreme Court to the affidavit of the Election Commission of India, which claimed that there is a possibility of delay by an average of six days, the opposition parties said that the quality of poll process is important, than delay in counting.

The opposition’s response led by Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N. Chandrababu Naidu said: “It is a petition filed in public interest by presidents/leaders of 21 different national and regional parties across the country, electorally representing about 70-75 per cent of the people of India.”

Apart from Naidu, other petitioners include K.C Venugopal, Arvind Kejriwal, Akhilesh Yadav, Sharad Pawar, Derek O’Brien, Farooq Abdullah, Sharad Yadav, Ajit Singh, Danish Ali and Manoj Jha. The opposition leaders were not convinced with the study conducted by the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) for the EC.

The study concluded that 479 randomly selected VVPATs from 13.5 lakh EVMs for paper slip counting had shown accurate results with 99.99 per cent voter confidence level.

The opposition leaders were of the opinion that the study was fundamentally erroneous as it was based on a flawed assumption that parliamentary election being conducted in 543 constituencies all over India and spread over a six-week period was a single homogenous event and said that 479 randomly selected EVMs to verify the entire process was not sufficient.

This sample size considered by the ISI in its study was extremely small to conclude the perfection of the EVMs. “Petitioners submit that to decide sample size based on population, each Assembly constituency must be considered as a separate unit; the entire country cannot be treated as one single unit,” said the petition countering the ISI study.

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