The Election Commission on Wednesday, May 22 rejected the demand of 22 political parties to count paper trail machine slips before the counting of votes polled in electronic voting machines (EVMs), saying it has not been found "feasible".
A day after a delegation met the EC, it issued a statement, saying after two rounds of in-depth discussions Wednesday and Thursday,"it has neither been found possible nor feasible to accede to this demand" in the overall context and especially in view of a Supreme Court judgment of April 8 which had directed the poll panel that the random selection of VVPATs will be subject to the process of slip verification as per the EVM guideline in force.
The guideline broadly states that the slip count should be held at the end of counting of votes polled in EVMs.
Ahead of the counting of votes for the Lok Sabha election, opposition parties on Wednesday slammed the EC for rejecting their demand to tweak the counting of voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) slips, with the Congress calling it an "Enfeebled Commission" while BJP president Amit Shah terming their plea as "unconstitutional".
"There were some other procedural issues like allowing counting agents of candidates along with all returning officers and assistant returning officers on which necessary instructions have already been reiterated and wherever required made more candidate-friendly," the EC said in a statement.
The opposition parties, which had approached the EC on Tuesday, wanted five random VVPATs to be counted first so that if there is a problem or a mismatch, the entire VVPAT slips can be counted at the beginning itself.
Though the EC had made it clear to the parties on Tuesday that the old protocol would continue, its top officials met on Wednesday and decided to continue with counting the slips at the end.