Oppn to chalk out anti-EVM protest plan on Friday

Oppn to chalk out anti-EVM protest plan on Friday

Top leaders of the Opposition will meet here on Friday to chalk out a joint strategy against Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) and other political issues like Rafale scam. DH file photo

Sources said Congress president Rahul Gandhi is “most likely” to attend the meeting, which will also see the presence of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu, Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ahmed Patel, Trinamool Congress' Derek O'Brien and CPI's D Raja, among others.

Leaders of around 20 Opposition parties will be attending the meeting, to be held soon after the presentation of interim Budget in Parliament.

The leaders had agreed to hold a meeting on EVMs when they went to Kolkata to attend the rally organised by Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Sources said one of the plans is to draft a joint letter against the use of EVMs, addressed to President Ram Nath Kovind.

They are also likely to discuss meeting Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and joint Opposition march to the Election Commission.

Some Opposition parties have expressed reservations about EVMs and some others, including Congress, have demanded a return to ballot papers in the future. For the 2019 elections, Congress has said that the EC should tally the EVMs' vote count with that of at least 50% of VVPAT (paper trails of votes cast).

Raids on agenda

The EC has rejected claims that EVMs can be manipulated and said that the software is protected.

Sources said the meeting would also discuss the strategy to further the campaign on Rafale scam. The leaders are also likely to discuss the recent raids on BSP supremo Mayawati and her Samajwadi Party counterpart Akhilesh Yadav, who have forged an alliance in Uttar Pradesh and are likely to dent BJP's prospects in the state.