New Delhi:

Lok Sabha election over, both Opposition INDIA bloc and the ruling BJP knocked at the doors of the Election Commission today in tit-for-tat moves. While the Opposition asked the Commission to ensure that all guidelines are followed during Tuesday’s counting, the BJP warned the poll body against “coordinated attempts” by the Opposition to “undermine the integrity” of the electoral process.

“They (the Opposition) are directly attacking the Democratic institutions and pose a threat to the electoral process,” read the letter from the BJP, signed by Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Piyush Goyal.

Accusing the Opposition of working according to a plan that first discredits institutions and then the electoral process, the BJP mentioned the recent hearing on Electronic Voting Machines in the Supreme Court.

“They have a clear pattern, 1st they target the institution then they target the process and methods of the Institution and then if the judgement goes against then they’ll raise questions and cases on the elections process, EVM and VVPATS,” the letter read. “When they are losing an election they are looking for a scapegoat and looking to justify the loss and they don’t want to accept the reality of who the voters choose,” it added.

The top court, the BJP pointed out, has rejected the appeal for a return to ballot papers, with some strong comments.

Earlier today, the Congress said this was the third time they were meeting the Commission during the election. Among other things, the parties flagged the issue of ensuring security to the Electronic Voting Machines and VVPATs (Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail machines).

They have urged officials to ensure that the control units of the EVMs are moved through CCTV-monitored corridors and verify the current date-and-time display of the control units.

“This verification is important because unless it is done, there is no authenticity that it is the same control unit that came from the polling booth, that it has not been changed,” said CPM’s Sitaram Yechury.

The Opposition parties have also underscored the need for election officials to stick to the guidelines during counting. The letter was sent to the Commission after a 2.5-hour meet of the INDIA bloc yesterday, focusing on a strategy for the counting day.

The Opposition’s frequently flagged concerns about the EVMs have been brushed aside by the Supreme Cour last month. While the court gave a massive vote-of-confidence to EVM machines, the landmark judgment also included a precautionary measure — the sealing of a crucial part of VVPAT machines and enabling the first and second runners-up in an election to challenge the outcome without going to court.

Last month, the Opposition had also flagged an instance where CCTV cameras at the spot where Electronic Voting machines were stored for the Baramati Lok Sabha constituency, was switched off for 45 minutes.

The Nationalist Congress Party (Sharadchandra Pawar) alleged that it was “suspicious’ and demanded an explanation from the Election Commission. The Returning Officer for the constituency said only the “display was temporarily closed”, but cited no reason for it.

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