The opposition Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh, seen as the big challenger to the BJP in the recently concluded assembly elections, has demanded that the Election Commission webcast the counting of votes live. The link, the party said, should be given to the political parties which contested the election, apart from the Election Commissioner of India and the other key election officials.
Citing the live webcast of election in at least more than 50 per of election centres, the Samajwadi Party said in a letter that the counting also should be webcast to ensure that it is “efficient, independent and free of partisanship”.
The letter was tweeted by the Samajwadi Party a day after it claimed that Electronic Voting machines were being stolen from a counting centre in Varanasi.
— Samajwadi Party (@samajwadiparty) March 9, 2022
Accusing the government of “theft”, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav pointed out that in 2017, the BJP’s winning margin on nearly 50 seats were less than 5,000 votes.
The party has complained to the Election Commission and said it would go to court over the issue. The Varanasi District Magistrate has claimed that the EVMs were being taken out for training purposes.
The ones used for voting were in possession of the CRPF and under CCTV surveillance. Members of all political parties are also keeping a watch on those, he added.
In a statement, the Election Commission had backed the version of the District Magistrate.
Mr Yadav — who has claimed that his party will win and form government in the state — said yesterday that the EVM issue was an indication that democracy needs to be protected.
“The news of EVM being caught in Varanasi is giving a message to every assembly of UP to be alert. All candidates and supporters of SP-alliance should be ready with their cameras to thwart the attempt to rigging the counting of votes. Youth become soldiers in counting of votes to protect democracy and future!” he later tweeted.