Bengaluru, Apr 15: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrabab Naidu, key interlocutor among 21 opposition parties demanding verification of at least 50 per cent of polled votes against VVPAT slips, Monday alleged the Election Commission was functioning under the 'guidance' of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP.
Opposition parties on Sunday had held a meeting to discuss the issue of EVM malfunctioning and said they will approach the Supreme Court again to demand that at least 50 per cent of paper trails be verified with EVMs.
The parties had put forth the demand days before the 2nd phase of the ongoing Lok Sabha elections on April 18, when the total of 97 constituencies across 13 states go to polls. The first of the seven-phase polls was held on April 11.
The Supreme Court had on Monday asked the Election Commission to increase the random matching of VVPAT slips with votes cast through EVMs at five polling booths per assembly segment, from one at present, in the Lok Sabha polls.
It had given the direction saying the measure would provide greater satisfaction not just to political parties but the entire electorate.
Naidu had met Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora Saturday to raise the issue of alleged malfunctioning of EVMs.
The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief also asked the people of Karnataka to vote in favor of the JD(S)- Congress coalition candidates in the coming Lok Sabha polls.
"Yesterday I met the Election Commission. All of you are here and I want to tell you one thing. This Election Commission is working under the guidance of Narendra Modi and BJP," Naidu said, addressing a public meeting in Mandyas Pandavapura.
Alleging that the independent functioning of all constitutional organisations is under threat,he said "We are all together to fight against EVMs...as of today EVMs are vulnerable."
Demanding verification of VVPAT paper trails of 50 per cent of the EVMs, he said "...we all suspect that the government of India and also the Election Commission of doing some fraud in VVPAT."
Naidu on Monday campaigned in Mandya,where Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy's son Nikhil is the joint candidate of the ruling JD(S)-Congress alliance.
Noting that this was a very important election for the nation and not just for Mandya or Karnataka alone, he said, "I'm appealing to all of you in Karnataka ...you have to vote for the JD(S)-Congress candidates.
Naidu alleged that the current Prime Minister was the least accountable one in the last 70 years.
"He never addressed one press conference...Democracy is in danger," he said, as he alleged that the CBI, Enforcement Directorate, Income Tax department, Reserve Bank of India, and the Election commission of India were being misused by Modi and BJP President Amit Shah.
"Has Narendra Modi done anything for Karnataka in the last five years? We are paying taxes, nothing has been done for our states...even for Andhra Pradesh and other South Indian states and several parts of the country," he said as he hit out at Modi on various issues, including theRafale deal.
Praising former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda and Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, Naidu asked people of Mandya to vote for Nikhil and defeat BJP in the state.
Interestingly, multi-lingual actress and widow of actor turned politician M H Ambareesh- Sumalatha, who is from Andhra Pradesh and reportedly belongs to the Naidu community, is contesting as independent against Nikhil, for whom Naidu campaigned on Monday in the Vokkaliga bastion.
With an intention to avoid large-scale damage to JD(S) with splitting of Vokkaliga votes as both Nikhil and Sumalatha hail from the community, a campaign is on in Mandya to project her as an outsider, with several party leaders questioning her identity and stating that she is not a "Gowdthi" (not Vokkaliga), pointing at her Telugu background.
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Kottayam/Kochi, Jul 21: Senior Kerala MLA and NDA partner P C George Sunday claimed six Congress MPs and three legislators from the state had held talks with the BJP central leadership and that there would be defections.
Congress rejected the claim by the Poonjar MLA and called him a big mouth, saying he makes such statements to get media attention.
George, whose Kerala Janapaksham Secular party recently joined the BJP-led NDA in the state, made the claim at a time when the Congress had been hit by desertions of its MLAs in Karnataka and Goa.
I have come to know that six Congress MPs and three Congress MLAs in the state have held talks with the central leadership of the BJP, George told reporters in Kottayam after his party's state committee meeting.
He declined to divulge any further details.
Later, when contacted by the PTI, the senior MLA said he could not divulge more details about the talks but claimed there would be "a flow" from the Congress to the BJP in Kerala.
George said his claim would be proved right soon.
He was formerly with the Kerala Congress (Mani) but broke away ahead of the 2016 assembly polls after differences with the leadership and won the Poonjar seat as an independent.
Later, he formed the Kerala Janapaksham Secular party.
Dismissing his claims, KPCC Vice President V D Satheesan said no one takes George seriously as he is a big mouth.
George is known for making such allegations to get media attention," he added.
Not a single Congress leader from Kerala would join the BJP, Satheesan, MLA, told PTI.
He alleged George was making such claims as the Congress had prevented his move to enter the UDF fold.