'We only want a free and fair election process,' the parties said.
New Delhi: Twenty-one Opposition parties have submitted before the Supreme Court that they were agreeable to a delay of even five days in the declaration of the Lok Sabha poll results if the Election Commission (EC) approved their demand for verification of 50 per cent votes through the paper trail.
In their affidavit, the parties, led by Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N Chandrababu Naidu, said on Saturday, "Even a delay of 5.2 days in declaring results of the general election is not a serious delay if it ensures the integrity of the electoral process. If a delay of 5.2 days is to be balanced with the integrity of the electoral process, the balance will certainly tilt towards the integrity...”
They also said the delay will only occur if the poll body chooses not to increase the manpower.
"If the manpower is increased, counting can be completed in a day even if 50 percent EVMs are verified using paper trails. We are not casting any aspersion on the Election Commission. We only want a free and fair election process,” the parties said.
The affidavit was filed after the apex court granted time to the parties time till April 8 to respond to the stand of the election watchdog that verification of 50 per cent of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trails (VVPAT) in all constituencies will delay counting.
The EC, in an affidavit, has pointed out logistical difficulties in carrying out 50 per cent verification of VVPATs. This will delay the announcement of results by at least six days, according to the Commission.
Apart from Naidu, the petitioners include KC Venugopal (Congress), Arvind Kejriwal (AAP), Akhilesh Yadav (SP), Sharad Pawar (NCP), Derek O Brien (TMC), Farooq Abdullah (NC) and Danish Ali (JDS).