Andhra Pradesh CM and TDP leader Chandrababu Naidu on Tuesday met former PM and JDS chief HD Deve Gowda as part of his efforts to mobilize opposition parties on the controversy over alleged manipulation of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).
In an hour-long conversation with him on Tuesday night after a meeting of opposition parties in New Delhi on the EVM issue earlier in the day, Naidu claimed that 23 parties were raising the issue and demanding transparency and accountability. He questioned BJP’s earlier opposition to the EVMs and how now in Uttar Pradesh, EVMs are in hotels and homes and how strong rooms are being changed. Regarding PM Modi’s criticism regarding the attack on EVM tampering, Naidu questioned Modi’s dissatisfaction saying, “There are EVM and VVPAT. You have spent Rs 9,000 crore... Why are you not showing transparency and accountability?" "This means you are doing mischief. You are manipulating EVMs.” Gowda then claimed that he too had written about the EVMs to the Election Commission back in 2006 itself and added that he felt ballot papers should be brought back to avoid these complications. With reliability already being an issue, the opposition parties have also demanded an increase in the tallying of the paper trail of votes (VVPATs) with EVM figures and have submitted a memorandum to the poll panel in New Delhi.
In the memorandum, leaders of 22 opposition parties, including the Congress, DMK, TDP and the BSP, have demanded that verification of VVPAT slips of randomly identified five polling stations in an assembly segment should be done prior to the initiation of counting of votes and not after the completion of the last round of counting.