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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.

Feature

PM pitches for ‘One Nation, One Election’ as need of India

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday pitched for ‘One Nation, One Election’, saying it is the need of India as polls taking place every few months impact development works.

Addressing the concluding session of the 80th All India Presiding Officers Conference via video conference, Modi also paid homage to the victims of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks and asserted that India is fighting terrorism now with new policy and new process.

Noting that it was the biggest terror strike on India, Modi said India can never forget the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

On November 26, 2008, ten Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists from Pakistan arrived through sea and opened fire, killing 166 people, including 18 security personnel, and injuring many during the 60-hour siege in Mumbai.

Pitching strongly for ‘One Nation, One Election’, Modi said it is not just a matter of debate, this is the need of India.

“Elections are held at different places every few months, the impact it has on development works is known to all. Therefore, it is a must to have deep study and deliberation on ‘One Nation, One Election’,” Modi said.

The prime minister also suggested a single voters’ list for Lok Sabha, assembly and panchayat polls, saying separate lists are a waste of resources.

Legislature, Executive and Judiciary should work with better coordination and national interest should be the basis for every decision, Modi said.

“We must remember that when politics take over people and nation-first policies, the nation has to pay adversely in such situations,” he said.

He also cited the example of delay in the completion of the Sardar Sarovar Dam, saying it kept lingering and was completed after years.

“This could have happened earlier if development was given precedence. Those who stalled it, have no repentance,” he said in a clear attack on the Congress.

Underlining that there is no place for politics of untouchability, Modi cited the example of the Statue of Unity built by his government for Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel despite him not being from the BJP or the Jana Sangh.

Constitution is our guiding light to take on challenges in the 21st century and national interest should be our basis for every decision, Modi said

He called for raising awareness about the Constitution.

“Our Constitution has many features but one very special feature is the importance given to duties. Mahatma Gandhi was very keen about this. He saw a close link between rights and duties. He felt that once we perform our duties, rights will automatically be safeguarded,” Modi said.

He also referred to the practice of KYC (know your customer) in the corporate world and said there should be a similar KYC drive in the form of Know Your Constitution to popularise the Constitution and its different features.

The All India Presiding Officers Conference began in 1921, and the Gujarat event marks its centenary year.

The theme for this year’s conference is ‘Harmonious Coordination between Legislature, Executive and Judiciary- Key to a Vibrant Democracy’.

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