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Assam Jatiya Parishad calls for enhanced transparency in election process

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Dibrugarh, April 3 (PTI) The Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) on Wednesday welcomed the Supreme Court's notice to the Election Commission on a plea seeking a complete count of VVPAT slips and said the matter should be decided before the Lok Sabha polls.

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The AJP terms it as a step towards addressing doubts surrounding EVMs, party spokesperson Ziaur Rahman said at a press conference here.

The party demanded immediate implementation of measures to enhance transparency, starting from the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections starting April 19.

The Supreme Court's notice, issued on April 1, called for all VVPAT slips attached to EVMs used in polling to be counted and this will provide a more robust mechanism for election transparency.

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The Election Commission has been given a three-week timeframe to clarify its position on this matter.

The VVPAT is an independent vote verification system which permits an elector to see whether his vote was cast correctly. It generates a paper slip which can be viewed by the voter and the paper slip is kept in a sealed cover and can be opened in case of a dispute.

''As the debate on EVM reliability continues, the AJP remains committed to a more transparent and accountable electoral process in India. There is a need to form public opinion on the issue'', Rahman said.

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The party emphasises the importance of addressing the concerns raised about EVMs, especially considering their widespread use since the 2004 elections.

Various political parties, including the ruling BJP, have previously questioned the reliability of EVMs with former party President Rajnath Singh and former Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani having openly expressed doubts about EVMs after the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.

Advani, in a statement outside Parliament in 2009, had highlighted concerns about the absence of VVPATs despite a Supreme Court order.

Rahman also drew attention to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by the Association for Democratic Reform (ADR) in the Supreme Court on May 16, 2021.

This PIL raised crucial points for enhancing the transparency of the electoral process, including the need to count all VVPAT slips and ensuring adequate lighting at polling stations, he added. PTI DG DG MNB

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