2 Days Before Lok Sabha Results, A Case Of Two Petitions Before Poll Body

New Delhi: With only two days left before the Lok Sabha election results are announced, both the Opposition bloc and the ruling BJP have approached the Election Commission with separate petitions. In a tit-for-tat move, the Opposition has requested the Commission to ensure strict adherence to guidelines during the counting process on Tuesday. On the other hand, the BJP has cautioned the poll body against what they describe as “coordinated attempts” by the Opposition to undermine the integrity of the electoral process.

“They (the Opposition) are directly attacking the Democratic institutions and pose a threat to the electoral process,” stated a letter from the BJP, signed by Union Ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Piyush Goyal. The BJP accused the Opposition of following a specific plan to discredit institutions and subsequently question the electoral process, citing the recent hearing on Electronic Voting Machines in the Supreme Court as an example.

The Congress, in their third meeting with the Commission during the election period, raised concerns about the security of Electronic Voting Machines and VVPATs (Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail machines). They emphasized the importance of ensuring that the control units of the EVMs are transferred through CCTV-monitored corridors and that the current date-and-time display on these units is verified to maintain authenticity.

The Opposition parties have also highlighted the necessity for election officials to strictly adhere to guidelines during the counting process. These concerns were presented to the Commission following a 2.5-hour meeting of the INDIA bloc, focusing on strategies for the upcoming counting day.

Despite the Supreme Court dismissing the Opposition’s concerns about EVMs last month, the court’s judgment included a precautionary measure of sealing a crucial part of VVPAT machines, allowing the first and second runners-up in an election to challenge the outcome without resorting to legal action. Additionally, the Opposition previously raised an issue where CCTV cameras at a location storing Electronic Voting machines for the Baramati Lok Sabha constituency were switched off for 45 minutes, prompting demands for an explanation from the Election Commission.

The Returning Officer for the constituency clarified that only the display was temporarily turned off, without providing a reason for the action.