Opposition to approach EC over EVM tampering issue

Opposition to approach EC over EVM tampering issue
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Highlights

A host of Opposition leaders, including Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and NCP chief Sharad Pawar, held a meeting at the Constitution Club here on Friday to chalk out a joint strategy to develop solutions on issues like providing employment opportunities to the youth, agricultural crisis and systematic attack on various institutions

New Delhi: A host of Opposition leaders, including Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and NCP chief Sharad Pawar, held a meeting at the Constitution Club here on Friday to chalk out a "joint strategy" to develop solutions on issues like providing employment opportunities to the youth, agricultural crisis and systematic attack on various institutions.

Called by Naidu, the ‘Save the Nation, Save the Democracy’ meeting saw leaders from the Opposition camp discussing the issue of EVM tampering, an issue which they have been raising consistently. The Congress president said the Opposition parties will approach the Election Commission and submit a document over the EVM tampering issue on Monday. This comes hours after Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora ruled out reverting back to the ballot paper. Questioning the efficacy of the electronic voting machines, the Opposition parties have demanded that the Election Commission revert to paper ballots to hold the Lok Sabha elections.

The Opposition parties claimed that only two or three countries in the world were using EVMs and that the rest had reverted to ballot paper system. “The main issue with the EVMs is that there is a doubt in the minds of many people in this country about the fairness of its system. So, we want to create a backup system so that people can be certain about what is going on and they build their confidence in the electoral system,” he added.

On the BJP leaders calling the Budget a ‘Surgical Strike 2.0’, Gandhi said, “The surgical strike is going to happen in the next couple of months with Modi and his govt. There would be one surgical strike after the other on Rafale, on demonetisation, jobs, agriculture.”

Replying to a question, Rahul said key issues for the Opposition parties during the elections will be farmers’ problems, attack on institutions and Rafale scam. The Congress chief also stated that all parties have agreed to discuss in detail three issues — two Central and one structural — jobs, agriculture and attack on institutions. They are going to meet and find solutions to these problems, he added.

The meeting was also attended by Trinamool Congress MP Derek O'Brien, Ramgopal Yadav of the SP, Mohammad Salim from CPI-M, Sharad Yadav, LJD. Sanjay Singh of AAP, Omar Abdullah of National Conference, Satish Chandra Misra of BSP, Manoj Jha of RJD, Kanimozhi of DMK, Jayant Chaudhary of RLD, D Raja from CPI, Danish Ali from JD-S and Jitin Ram Manjhi of HAM were present.

Earlier in the day, CEC Arora had said the EVMs have been in use for more than two decades and there is no going back on that front. “Political parties have a right to make their feedback known and their apprehensions because they’re the biggest stakeholders after the voters. But we’re not going back to ballot-paper days. We’re not going to the days of ballot papers being snatched, muscle powers being used for that (and) inordinate delays in counting,” the CEC said.

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