Chandrababu Naidu meets Deve Gowda over EVM issue

Published: May 22, 2019, 07:35 IST | mid-day online desk

Naidu said 23 parties were raising the issue and demanding transparency and accountability

Chandrababu Naidu meets Deve Gowda over EVM issue

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP leader Chandrababu Naidu on Tuesday met former prime minister and JDS supremo H D Deve Gowda as part of his efforts to mobilise opposition parties on the controversy over alleged manipulation of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).

Confabulating with Gowda for over an hour late Tuesday night after a meeting of opposition parties in New Delhi on the EVM issue earlier in the day, Naidu said 23 parties were raising the issue and demanding transparency and accountability.

"Naidu met Gowda and Kumaraswamy at the latter's residence in the city's southern suburb and sought their party's support for forming a non-BJP alliance and staking claim to power in the event of a fractured verdict and a hung Parliament," JD-S official Ramesh Babu told IANS.

"Earlier, even the BJP had opposed EVMs," he said. "In Uttar Pradesh, we are seeing EVMs in hotels and homes... strong rooms are being changed," Naidu alleged.

Asked about Prime Minister Narendra Modi attacking the bogey of EVM raised by the opposition, Naidu said, "Why is the PM opposing? There are EVM and VVPAT. You have spent Rs 9,000 crore... Why are you not showing transparency and accountability?"

"This means you are doing mischief. You are manipulating EVMs," he alleged.

Gowda said he too had written about the EVMs to the Election Commission in 2006 itself and added that he felt ballot papers should be brought back to avoid these complications.

Already locked in a battle with the EC over the reliability of the EVMs, the opposition parties have pressed for their demand of increasing the tallying of the paper trail of votes (VVPATs) with EVM figures and have submitted a memorandum to the poll panel in New Delhi.

In the memorandum, leaders of 22 opposition parties, including from the Congress, DMK, TDP and the BSP, have demanded that verification of VVPAT slips of randomly identified five polling stations in an assembly segment should be done prior to the initiation of counting of votes and not after the completion of the last round of counting.

Asked about the prime ministerial candidate of the opposition in the event of anti-BJP parties getting the numbers, Naidu said, "We will sit together and discuss the PM candidate after the results on May 23."

On the JDS backing Congress president Rahul Gandhi for the top post, Naidu said, "There was nothing wrong with it. (However) We will sit together and decide."

"Naidu has agreed to call on both the JD-S leaders on Thursday after all the Lok Sabha results are declared and requested them to be in New Delhi on Friday for a meeting of the non-BJP alliance leaders, Babu added.

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Edited by mid-day online desk with inputs from Agencies

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