Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on Monday said that the Election Commission has to clear people's doubts over the functioning of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and take all steps to bring transparency in the system.
The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief wondered what objection the poll body has over the demand of the opposition parties for ensuring transparency in the conduct of the polls by matching 50 percent of VVPAT slips with the votes recorded in the EVMs.
A day after the opposition parties led by Naidu decided to file a review petition in the Supreme Court for counting of 50 per cent VVPAT slips, Naidu addressed a news conference in Amaravati to target the Election Commission (EC) again for its 'stubbornness' over use EVMs without taking adequate measures to prevent their manipulation.
He alleged that the EC tried to mislead the apex court by filing a false affidavit stating that it will take six days to count VVPAT.
Naidu said his fight over EVMs would not stop here, but he would go to other states, meet leaders of other parties and address meetings to create awareness.
He said opposition parties would have to prepare an action plan to launch a peoples' agitation against the attitude of the Election Commission, saying this was a democratic compulsion.
"When we are showing how EVMs can be manipulated and tampered with, they are doing politics. Instead of clearing the doubts, they are launching counter-attack," said Naidu in an obvious reference to EC's objection to inclusion of Hari Prasad Vemuru, who is an accused in a case of alleged EVM theft, in the TDP delegation that called on the poll body officials.
Referring to the polling for Assembly and Lok Sabha elections held in Andhra Pradesh on April 11, Naidu said he never saw such badly oraganised polls. "Their own Chief Electoral Officer could not cast the vote. People voted till 4 am the next day," he said.
He also claimed that VVPATs were displaying slips only for three seconds instead of seven seconds as claimed by the EC.
He rubbished the allegations of his political rivals that he is raising the doubts on EVMs out of fear of defeat. Claiming that there was an undercurrent in TDP's favour, he said the party would win 150 seats in 175-member Assembly.
He reiterated that only 18 out of 190 countries were using EVMs. He said EVMs can be manipulated by several means as technology was not updated. He also claimed that there was no provision for any audit of EVMs, either in terms of software or hardware.