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SC seeks EC’s response over opposition plea on EVMs

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The Supreme Court on Friday sought the Election Commission’s (EC) response on a plea by the 21 opposition parties seeking the audit of at least 50 per cent of EVMs with corresponding Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trails (VVPATs).

Issuing the notice to the EC, the bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Sanjiv Khanna directed the the election panel to depute an officer to assist the court on the next hearing of the matter on March 25.
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The plea was filed by the been filed by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu (TDP), Sharad Pawar (NCP), Farooq Abdullah (NC), Sharad Yadav (LJD), Arvind Kejriwal (AAP), Akhilesh Yadav (SP), Derek O’Brien (TMC) and M.K. Stalin (DMK).

In the plea, they requested the court that 50 per cent of results of electronic voting machines (EVMs) must be matched and cross-checked with VVPATs before the declaration of results in the general elections.

Earlier in February, the opposition parties approached the EC to audit at least 50 per cent of EVMs with corresponding VVPATs in all constituencies during the Lok Sabha polls.

The parties have said there are “serious doubts about the credibility of EVMs and the purity of the entire electoral process” and asked the EC to mandate physical countercheck of paper trail and match it with the electronic vote in at least 50 per cent of all EVMs, if not all.

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Mulayam Singh Yadav’s birthday celebrated separately by Akhilesh, Shivpal

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Lucknow: Samajwadi patriarch Mulayam Singh’s 81st birthday on Friday was celebrated with much fanfare in Lucknow, Etawah and several other districts.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath wished the veteran leader on his birthday with a tweet and wished him a “healthy, active and happy life”.

The event though once again threw wide open the split in the party and the family.

While the Samajwadi Party and Akhilesh Yadav celebrated the birthday in Lucknow, Shivpal Yadav and his Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party Lohia (PSPL) celebrated the occasion in Etawah.

Both the parties put up hoardings wishing Mulayam Singh on his birthday in the state capital.

In Lucknow, Akhilesh Yadav led the celebrations with his cousin Dharmendra Yadav and all senior party leaders by his side.

Mulayam Singh Yadav arrived at the party office in the afternoon and cut the customary cake amid cries of ‘Mulayam Singh zindabad’.

Earlier, the Samajwadi Party workers had held a ‘havan’ to pray for the their patriarch’s long life.

Party leaders distributed 81 kilograms ‘laddoos’ and danced to the beating of ‘dhol’ at the party office.

In Etawah, Shivpal Singh organised a ‘dangal’ to mark the occasion. It may be recalled that Mulayam Singh had been a wrestler in his younger days and is particularly fond of the sport.

Shivpal Yadav also released an e-book titled ‘Lohia-Mulayam.com’ o the occasion.

However, none of the other family members attended Shivpal’s event showing that the divide within the family was equally deep.

PSPL members celebrated Mulayam’s birthday at all district offices by cutting cakes and distributing fruits among the poor.

Mulayam Singh first became Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh in 1989 and then again in 1993 and then in 2003. He served as Defence Minister in the Deve Gowda government in 1996.

He is the founder of the Samajwadi Party that is now headed by his son Akhilesh Yadav.

He is presently Member of Parliament from Mainpuri.

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