Oppn to meet EC on Monday over EVM issue

Oppn to meet EC on Monday over EVM issue

Congress president Rahul Gandhi, addressing the media after the meeting on Friday, said the issue of EVMs was discussed at length by the opposition leaders. PTI file photo

A united Opposition will approach the Election Commission on Monday demanding that 50% of VVPAT should be tallied with Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) even as the anti-BJP parties will thrust its focus on jobs, agrarian crisis and attack on institutions ahead of Lok Sabha elections.

The decision was taken at a meeting of leaders of 20 Opposition parties, including Congress president Rahul Gandhi, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, Samajwadi Party leader Ramgopal Yadav and BSP MP Satish Chandra Mishra among others.

The leaders of parties are likely to meet again in another 15 days to take further steps to take on the Narendra Modi government. Sources said the Opposition will also focus their energy on countering government claims in the Budget like providing assured income for farmers.

Rahul told the meeting that Opposition parties should talk in one voice and work together on issues. He suggested that they should talk more about jobs and agrarian crisis.

RSP's N K Premachandran suggested that the Opposition should not leave the government go easy after it violated conventions on Budget and should corner them. CPI's D Raja suggested that there should be wider use of VVPAT counting.

Addressing a joint press conference after the meeting, Rahul said that all parties have decided on three big issues — jobs, agrarian crisis and systematic attack on institutions.

"The biggest issue is the jobs in which Modi and his government have failed the country completely...We have decided to have periodic meetings to develop solutions to these issues," he said.

On EVMs, he said there are doubts in the minds of people about the fairness of the EVMs. He said Opposition parties will meet the EC on Monday at 5:30 pm.

Those who attended the meeting also included AK Antony, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge and Ahmed Patel (Congress), Derek O'Brien (Trinamool Congress), Mohd Salim and T K Rangarajan (CPM), Sharad Yadav (LJD), Sanjay Singh (AAP), Omar Abdullah (National Conference), Manoj Jha (RJD), Kanimozhi (DMK), Jayant Chaudhary(RLD), D Raja (CPI), Danish Ali(JD-S), Badruddin Ajmal(AIUDF), Prof Ashok Kumar Singh (JVM), Jitin Ram Manjhi (HAM) and Prof Kodandaram (TJS).