Congress leader Jairam Ramesh has written a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar.
In the letter, he requested the CEC that a delegation of leaders from the INDIA bloc be given a chance to meet with him and his team to express their perspective on VVPATS.
In his correspondence with CEC Kumar, Ramesh indicated that the leaders of the INDI Alliance had, on 20 December 2023, sought a meeting with the ECI to "discuss and provide suggestions on the use of VVPATs" based on a resolution passed at meeting of leaders of the bloc held the previous day.
"We have been trying to meet with the ECI to hand over a copy of this resolution and have a discussion but have not been successful so far in doing so," he said.
"I once again make a request for an opportunity for a 3-4 member team of INDIA party leaders to meet with you and your colleagues and take a few minutes to put forward our point of view on VVPATS," Ramesh said, The Hindu reported.
In his letter dated 30 December 2023, the Congress general secretary also pointed out that on 9 August 2023, a memorandum had been submitted to the ECI on EVM-related concerns of INDI Alliance.
He mentioned that multiple requests were made on 9, 10, 16, 18, and 23 August last year for a meeting between a delegation of INDI Alliance parties with the ECI.
"On August 23, 2023 ECI issued a clarification to our counsel on the memorandum. This clarification was generic in nature and (i) directed us to refer to the standard FAQs on EVMs available on ECI website; (ii) explained the legal backing for EVMs through Section 61A of the Representation of Peoples' Act, 1951; (iii) summarised judgments of High Courts and the Supreme Court on issue of EVMs; (iv) provided a chart of assembly and parliamentary election results since 2004 to show that the political party winning the maximum number of seats changed several times," Ramesh said.
However, there was no meeting or hearing provided to INDI Alliance parties' delegation despite repeated requests, he said.
Ramesh highlighted that a follow-up representation was sent by INDI Alliance parties through their counsel on 2 October 2023.
He stated that the ECI's clarification on 23 August 2023, did not address the specific concerns raised in the representation.
Furthermore, he added that there was no response received regarding the same.
The letter from Ramesh came days after the INDI Alliance's claim of numerous doubts regarding the reliability of electronic voting machines.
They proposed that voters should receive VVPAT slips, with a full count to be conducted subsequently.
Kuldeep is Senior Editor (Newsroom) at Swarajya. He tweets at @kaydnegi.
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