Two Days Before Lok Sabha Results, Two Petitions Submitted to Election Commission.

“The letter from the BJP, signed by Union Ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Piyush Goyal, stated that the Opposition is directly attacking democratic institutions and threatening the electoral process.”

With the Lok Sabha election over, both the Opposition INDIA bloc and the ruling BJP approached the Election Commission today in a series of tit-for-tat moves. The Opposition urged the Commission to ensure all guidelines are followed during Tuesday’s vote counting, while the BJP warned the poll body about “coordinated attempts” by the Opposition to “undermine the integrity” of the electoral process.

“The Opposition is directly attacking democratic institutions and poses a threat to the electoral process,” stated a letter from the BJP, signed by Union Ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Piyush Goyal.

Accusing the Opposition of following a plan to discredit institutions and the electoral process, the BJP referenced the recent Supreme Court hearing on Electronic Voting Machines.

“They have a clear pattern: first, they target the institution, then they target the institution’s processes and methods, and if the judgment goes against them, they raise questions and cases on the election process, EVMs, and VVPATs,” the letter read. “When they are losing an election, they look for a scapegoat to justify the loss and refuse to accept the reality of the voters’ choice,” it added.

The BJP pointed out that the top court had rejected the appeal for a return to ballot papers with strong comments.

Earlier today, the Congress noted that this was the third time they had met with the Commission during the election. Among other issues, the parties highlighted the importance of ensuring the security of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines.

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

“This verification is crucial because, without it, there is no assurance that the control unit is the same one from the polling booth and has not been tampered with,” said CPM’s Sitaram Yechury.

The Opposition parties have emphasized the need for election officials to adhere to guidelines during the counting process. The letter was sent to the Commission following a 2.5-hour meeting of the INDIA bloc yesterday, which focused on strategy for counting day.

The Supreme Court dismissed the Opposition’s repeated concerns about EVMs last month. While the court expressed strong confidence in EVMs, its landmark judgment included a precautionary measure: sealing a crucial part of VVPAT machines and allowing the first and second runners-up in an election to challenge the results without going to court.Last month, the Opposition also highlighted an incident where CCTV cameras were switched off for 45 minutes at the location where Electronic Voting Machines were stored for the Baramati Lok Sabha constituency.

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

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