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EC rejects Opposition demand for counting VVPAT first, tally 100% votes in case of mismatch

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VVPAT EVM

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It seemed to be a logical and reasonable demand – if possibly cumbersome for the staff engaged in counting votes – but the Election Commission (EC) rejected it at its meeting today (Wednesday, May 22).

Yesterday evening, leaders of 22 Opposition parties had met the EC and demanded that counting of votes should start with tallying of Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) with EVM votes of five polling booths in every assembly segment of a Lok Sabha seat and, in case there was a mismatch, to tally all votes in that segment.

The Supreme Court had on April 8 directed the Election Commission to increase matching of VVPAT slips with EVMs from one polling booth to five randomly selected polling booths per assembly segment in Lok Sabha polls.

In the instructions put out by the poll panel, the VVPAT slips were to be counted at the end of the last round.

“This is a no brainer,” said Abhishek Singhvi of the Congress. He reasoned, the Supreme Court had ordered counting of VVPAT slips from five polling booths only as a sample. If there is a problem with the sample, it means that entire lot may have been tampered and need to be tallied with VVPATs.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1558520700214{border-top-width: 10px !important;border-right-width: 10px !important;border-bottom-width: 10px !important;border-left-width: 10px !important;padding-top: 10px !important;padding-right: 10px !important;padding-bottom: 10px !important;padding-left: 10px !important;background-color: #c9c9c9 !important;border-radius: 10px !important;}”]This is for the first time in a Lok Sabha election that results of voting machines will be matched with slips generated by paper trail machines.

The exercise will take place in five polling stations per assembly segment which effectively means that out of nearly 10.3 lakh polling stations, the EVM-VVPAT matching will take place in 20600 such stations.

The Election Commission is yet to provide the number of counting centres being set up for Thursday, saying the data is not centrally available.

As per procedure, postal ballots would be the first to be counted.

The paper trail machines slips will be counted in the end.

As per the procedure, first the slips will be counted and the EVM displays would be switched on later to match the results.

In case of a mismatch, the results based in paper slip count will be considered as final.

The entire exercise of EVM-Paper trail machine matching will take an additional four to five hours.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The 22 Opposition leaders had also drawn attention to reports of what they called suspicious EVM movements thereby demanding verification of VVPAT slips before the counting of votes and not later.

The poll body, however, had dismissed the allegation adding that the EVMs were “absolutely safe” in strongrooms.

While the Opposition has been informed of the Election Commission’s meeting today, the leaders say they were not very hopeful since the EC’s “body language was not very positive”.

The BJP, meanwhile, has called the Opposition demand for matching of EVM votes with VVPAT a desperate attempt in the face of certain defeat.

Also, rejection of Opposition’s demand is being projected as its defeat and BJP’s victory.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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PM Modi pays tribute to VD Savarkar on death anniversary, says India will remember his valiant spirit

Veer Sawarkar passed away in 1966 on February 26.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi today paid tribute to Hindutva icon Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and said that India will never forget his unwavering dedication to the country’s freedom and unity.

Born at Bhagur on May 28, 1883, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, often known as Veer Savarkar, was raised there. Savarkar, an esteemed advocate of the Hindutva ideology, passed away in 1966.

Tributes to Veer Savarkar on his Punya Tithi, PM Modi wrote in a post on X. He also said, India will forever remember his valiant spirit and unwavering dedication to our nation’s freedom and integrity. His achievements motivate us to work toward our nation’s growth and prosperity, rhe PM added.

The national president of the BJP JP Nadda, on his officia X handle said, he pays his tribute to Swatantryaveer Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, the great hero of the Indian freedom struggle, the founder of cultural nationalism, an embodiment of unparalleled sacrifice and bravery, on his death anniversary. He also said, millions of his compatriots will always find inspiration in his commitment to securing Mother India’s freedom and fostering cultural awareness in the community.

Meanwhile, following his graduation from Pune College in 1906, Savarkar pursued legal studies in the United Kingdom. He founded the Free India Society that same year.

Savarkar was certain that national education should be given, a revolutionary spirit should be fostered, and the principles of Swadeshi and a boycott of foreign products should all be part of the fight for the freedom of the Motherland.

He was detained in London in 1909 on suspicion of organizing an armed uprising against the Morley-Minto reform. After that, he was given two life terms in the Andaman cellular jail. Savarkar was freed from prison in 1924, but only if he would stay out of politics for five years. He did, however, keep pushing for other social reforms, such as the abolition of untouchability.

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Arvind Kejriwal skips 7th ED summons in excise policy case, AAP says wait for Delhi court order

Arvind Kejriwal has skipped all the seven summons issued by ED to date, saying them as illegal.

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Delhi chief minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener Arvind Kejriwal denied to answer to the seventh summons from the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday. The ED was attempting to examine him in connection with a money laundering case involving alleged irregularities in the Delhi excise policy 2021–2022.

The investigation agency should hold off on sending Kejriwal multiple summonses, the AAP claims, and instead wait for a court decision.

Kejriwal has been avoiding questioning since November 2 of last year, when he was originally summoned to depose before the investigative agency but declined, claiming the notice was vague, motivated, and unsustainable in law. On that date, the ED sent him its most recent summons, requesting that he appear before it on February 26.

The dates of the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and fifth summonses were December 18, January 3, February 19, and January 18, respectively. All of the summonses were ignored, though, by the Delhi CM, who called them illegal and wrote to the ED requesting their dismissal.

Kejriwal was also the target of a complaint from the investigation agency for allegedly disobeying its summons in this particular case.

In 2021–2022, the Delhi government introduced an excise policy with the goal of revitalising the city’s struggling liquor sector. It promised swankier stores free of the controversial metal grilles, which would improve the shopping experience for patrons. However, the strategy was abandoned after Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena, requested a CBI investigation into it, citing irregularities.

The Enforcement Department claims that the AAP under Kejriwal was paid Rs 100 crore in kickbacks to finalise the excise policy. Additionally, it was claimed that the party utilised a substantial portion of this cash for their Goa election campaign.

Former Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh are the two prominent AAP leaders whom the ED has detained so far in this investigation.

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BJP MP Manoj Tiwari reacts to AAP-Congress Alliance, reminds CM Kejriwal of his 2012 jail promise

AAP and Congress announced an alliance in Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Goa, and Chandigarh on Saturday.

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BJP MP Manoj Tiwari on Saturday reminded Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal of his promise of sending leaders of Congress Party to jail. This comes after the announcement of the AAP and Congress’ seat sharing deal for upcoming Lok Sabha elections in Delhi.

Using the metaphor chor chor mausere bhai which translates in English, birds of a feather flock together, Tiwari said, this is what it is happening between AAP and Congress. He alleged that AAP workers are disappointed with CM Kejriwal as the used to speak about putting Congress leaders in jail but now he is at their feet.

AAP was formed after Arvind Kejriwal launched anti-corruption protests in Delhi. At that time congress was in power in both Delhi and the Centre.

Later when the party was formed in 2012, Arvind Kejriwal said that he would put corrupt leaders in jail within six months of coming to power.

Tiwari said that Arvind Kejriwal and AAP had ousted Congress from Delhi and Punjab and now the Chief Minister is sharing the stage with Rahul Gandhi.

He also said BJP and Prime Minister Modi are in everyone’s heart and the people of Delhi will decide everything as it is clear now that the top leaders of AAP and Congress are the same.

Meanwhile, AAP leader Atishi said that CM Kejriwal can be arrested soon. She alleged that ever since the INDIA bloc seat sharing was nearly finalised, Kejriwal started getting threats from everwhere. She also mentioned that the party members were told if they didn’t exit the alliance, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) would frame charges against Arvind Kejriwal to arrest him.

She claimed that the party had the information that the CBI would issue a notice on Monday and would arrest CM Kejriwal in a few days.

AAP and Congress announced an alliance in Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Goa, and Chandigarh on Saturday.

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