The people’s verdict in the recently concluded general elections has been sealed in the electronic voting machines and it will come out on May 23, when the votes are counted.
The Supreme Court has ruled that it is not possible to count slips of all the Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail and ordered that the EC could count slips of five randomly selected VVPAT machines per each constituency and compare them with the EVMs.
If there is any difference in the EVM votes and VVPAT slips, then the slips would be taken into account. The issue could have been settled with the SC verdict.
Yet, Telugu Desam Party president and Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu is making a big issue out of a virtual non-issue.
He raked up a new issue before the Election Commission on Tuesday, stating that the verification of VVPAT slips of randomly identified five polling stations should be done prior to the initiation of counting of votes and not after the completion of last round of counting.
He submitted a memorandum to this effect to the EC along with 22 opposition party leaders.
He demanded that if any discrepancy was found anywhere during the VVPAT verification, 100 per cent counting of paper slips of VVPATs of all polling stations of that assembly segment should be done.
"We are asking the Election Commission to respect the mandate of people. It cannot be manipulated," he said, and claimed that even the former Chief Election Commissioners has endorsed their demand.
Now, with Naidu raking up fresh litigation, the EC is in a dilemma.
“We shall take a call on this shortly,” the EC told him.