New Delhi: As apprehension over EVMs being rigged continue to keep the Opposition parties on tenterhooks, Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “The next 24 hours are very important. Be alert. And do not be scared. Do not be disheartened by “rumours” and “fake” exit poll results. Keep the faith in yourself and in the Congress party.” On the other hand Congress leader Udit Raj on Wednesday stirred a controversy when he questioned if the Supreme Court was involved in rigging Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).
“Why doesn’t the Supreme Court want all VVPAT slips to be counted? Is it also involved in rigging?” Udit Raj asked on Twitter. Hitting back at the Opposition, BJP president Amit Shah said, “ opposition to EVM is disrespecting the mandate of the people of the country.”
Meanwhile the Election Commission on Wednesday rejected Opposition’s demand for counting VVPAT first and stuck to its established procedure of counting them at the end of the entire process and begin counting EVMs first.
The VVPAT matching exercise will take place in five polling stations per assembly segment of each parliamentary constituency which means out of nearly 10.3 lakh polling stations, the EVM-VVPAT matching will take place in 20,600 stations. The paper trail machines slips will be counted in the end in these. In case of a mismatch with EVMs, the results based in paper slip count will be considered as final.
The EC has also decided to count the postal ballots simultaneously with EVM. Till now, the postal ballots were counted in the beginning followed by votes polled in EVMs. However, due to huge numbers of postal ballots received this time from service voters the EC has decided to count them simultaneously.
According to EC officials counting of postal ballots manually is expected to take a lot of time this year as the number of service voters is around 18 lakh including those of personnel of the defence, central police force, state police, diplomats and support staff posted in Indian embassies abroad. Out of these about 16.49 lakh have sent their postal ballots by May 17.