Doubting EVMs is disrespecting people's mandate: Shah

New Delhi, May 22: BJP President Amit Shah on Wednesday hit out at the opposition parties for questioning the integrity of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and said that their attempts were "tarnishing" the image of India and its democracy.

"Opposing EVMs is akin to disrespecting the people's mandate. Fearing defeat in the elections, the 22 opposition parties are putting a question mark over the country's democratic process and tarnishing the image of India and its democracy," Shah tweeted along with a list of six questions aimed at the opposition parties.

His remarks came soon after the Election Commission (EC) on Wednesday turned down the opposition parties' request to count the VVPAT (Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail) slips along with the EVMs at five randomly selected polling booths and tally VVPAT slips for the entire Assembly segment if any discrepancy occurred.

Firing salvos at the opposition parties, Shah said, "Those questioning the credibility of EVMs have won elections conducted through these machines in the past. When the Congress formed governments in four states during the recent Assembly polls in five states, we did not question EVMs. They should not have formed governments if they didn't have faith in EVMs."

The BJP President further said the Supreme Court after hearing three PILs had said that from every Assembly segment, VVPAT slips of five polling booths can be counted. "Are you questioning the Supreme Court's orders," Shah questioned.

Hitting out at the opposition parties, Shah said, "The noise over EVMs gained momentum after the sixth phase of polling, and it increased after the exit polls were announced. I want to tell the opposition leaders that exit polls are based on voters' feedbacks. How can you raise fingers on EVMs based on exit poll outcomes?"

Referring to the EVM hackathon organised by the Election Commission, Shah said, "The EC had organised the EVM hackathon, but none of the opposition parties accepted the challenge. The EC also made the electoral process more transparent by linking the voting machines with the VVPAT slips so that the voters could see whom they voted for. When the electoral process have been made so transparent, is it correct to raise questions over the polling process?"

Referring to former Union Minister and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) leader Upendra Kushwaha's remark that if an attempt was made to "loot" votes, people should pick up arms to protect them, Shah said, "Some political parties have threatened violence if the results do not match their expectations. These statements are highly objectionable.

"I want to tell the Opposition that there is no space for violence. Whom do they think they are challenging by making these undemocratic statements?"

Shah further said, "Not ready to accept defeat, the opposition is trying to disrespect the Election Commission and democracy in the country. Whatever be the outcome of the elections, it should be respected because it is the mandate of India's 90 crore electorate.

"I want to tell the people of the country that the Opposition is trying to spread falsehood about EVMs. Without getting diverted, we should work together to strengthen the institutions of the country."

IANS

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