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Congress questions govt.'s ability to provide VVPATs by 2019 elections

ANI  |  New Delhi [India] 

With the Commission's decision to monitor production of the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) by the 2019 assembly elections, the Party on Thursday questioned the government's ability of providing these machines.

"We need at least 16 lakh Paper Trail machines before the 2019 elections. Whether the will be able to fulfill the target or not is a crucial question. It's a much wider issue and for the purity of process it is essential. If the EVMs are not functionally accurate then they cannot be used," leader K.C. Mittal told ANI.

He further said the issue needs to be investigated by expert committees.

"In the 2014 parliamentary elections I had raised objections. There is something wrong with the EVMs. The Commissioner says he cannot hold municipal elections with the earlier EVMs. Then why were the Assembly elections in held on the same EVMs? These questions need to be answered," he added.

Meanwhile, Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav said he welcomes the debate on ongoing EVM issue, adding the order by the Supreme Court came much earlier.

"The Commission wrote several letters regarding the issue and I am glad that the has accepted it," he added.

The Commission yesterday said it would closely monitor production of the VVPAT for timely delivery well before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The Cabinet approved the Commission's proposal of the VVPAT machines.

The Cabinet allowed purchase of 16, 15,000 VVPAT units at a tentative unit cost of Rs.19, 650, and at a total estimated cost of Rs. 3173.47 crore (excluding taxes and freight as applicable) during the years 2017-18 and 2018-19.

The decision of the would enable the Commission to deploy VVPAT in all pooling booths in the 2019 general elections, which will act as an additional layer of transparency for the satisfaction of voters, allaying any apprehension in the minds of the voters as to the fidelity and integrity of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).

The demand for VVPAT had been vociferously made by opposition parties after the recently held assembly polls, alleging that the EVMs were tampered.

The (BSP), the (AAP) and the had attacked the EC for allegedly using "tampered" EVMs.

VVPAT is a machine which dispenses a slip with the symbol of the party for which a person has voted for. The slip drops in a box but the voter cannot take it home.

The voters see voter-verifiable paper audit trail slip for seven seconds, which would be an acknowledgement receipt for the party they voted for in the

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, April 20 2017. 09:32 IST