Leaders of 22 opposition parties on Tuesday met the Election Commission over reports of alleged tampering of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).
During the meeting with the poll body officials, the opposition leaders demanded transparency and fairness in the counting of votes on May 23.
TDP chief Chandrababu said the people’s mandate cannot be manipulated. “We are asking the Election Commission to respect the mandate of people. It cannot be manipulated,” he said.
The opposition parties have often said the EVMs can be tampered with, a charge that has been rejected by the EC.
The opposition leaders who moved the EC include Ahmed Patel, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ashok Gehlot, Abhishek Manu Singhvi of the Congress, TDP's Chandrababu Naidu, Satish Chandra Misra of the BSP, Sitaram Yechury of the CPI(M), D Raja of the CPI, Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal, Derek O'Brien of the TMC, Ramgopal Yadav of the SP, Kanimozhi of the DMK, Manoj Jha (RJD), Majeed Memon (NCP) and Devinder Rana (NC).
They also demanded that if any discrepancy is found during VVPAT verification, 100 per cent counting of the paper slips of VVPATs of all polling stations of that particular Assembly segment should be done and compared with the electronic voting machine (EVM) results.
"We told the EC that the VVPAT machines should be counted first and if there is any discrepancy, then all of them in that segment should be counted," Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad told reporters after meeting EC officials.
Azad's party colleague Abhishek Singhvi said despite requests to the EC since months, the poll body has now said it will meet on Wednesday to discuss the issue.
"We are asking the EC to respect the mandate of people. It cannot be manipulated," Telugu Desam Party's (TDP) N Chandrababu Naidu told reporters.
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Satish Chandra Mishra alleged that "there is large-scale bungling relating to EVMs in Uttar Pradesh. We demand deployment of central forces".
The opposition parties also raised concerns over the transportation of EVMs ahead of counting of votes and urged the EC to probe the issue.
On Tuesday, former President Pranab Mukherjee also expressed concern over the alleged tampering of voters' verdict saying the onus of ensuring institutional integrity lies with the Election Commission, which should put all speculation to rest.
"I am concerned at reports of alleged tampering of voters' verdict. The safety and security of EVMs which are in the custody of ECI is the responsibility of the Commission," he said on Twitter.