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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Chennai, Apr 23: Shane Watson brought back memories of last year's IPL final with a blazing knock that has now almost ensured a play-off berth for Chennai Super Kings as they beat Sunrisers Hyderabad by six wickets here Tuesday.
On a vastly improved Chepauk track, Watson roared back to form with an 96 off 53 balls as CSK stuttered a bit in end before winning in 19.5 overs.
Watson's innings studded with nine fours and half a dozen of sixes ensured that CSK have reached the cut-off limit of 16 points needed for the play-off even though they would like to finish in the top two.
Watson's innings would also be a relief for skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who had urged the top order to finish matches.
A 77-run stand between Watson and Suresh Raina (38) created the platform and the former Australia all-rounder singlehandedly decimated the Sunrisers attack.
What made it more difficult for the Sunrisers was the fact that their strike bowler Rashid Khan was pulverised by Watson, who took him to the cleaners with 44 coming off his spell.
Sandeep Sharma was another bowler, who was handed severe punishment as he went for 54 in 3.5 overs. Sandeep repeatedly bowled short and Watson would gleefully pull him. Skipper Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1/18 in 4 overs) had no option but to bowl the 19th over and left Sandeep with nine runs to defend.
However Kedar Jadhav literally finished the match with a six off the second ball that sealed the deal.
Earlier, the immensely talented Manish Pandey was back in his element as his unbeaten 83 off 49 balls powered Sunrisers Hyderabad to a fighting 175 for 3 after being put into bat.
Pandey and league's current leading run-scorer David Warner (57 off 45 balls) added 115 runs for the second wicket to lay the foundation for a decent score on what was the best batting track on offer at the Chepauk.
Veteran spinner Harbhajan Singh struck an early blow, having the in-form Jony Bairstow caught behind in the second over for a duck.
He was the most successful bowler with figures of 2 for 39 in four overs while Deepak Chahar picked up the wicket of Vijay Shankar (26 off 20 balls).
Despite the early dismissal of Bairstow, the visiting team didn't get tied down as the irrepressible Warner and Manish Pandey kept hitting those boundaries and sixes. They brought up the team's 50 in the sixth over.
Pandey who has not been in the best form, hit his straps, scoring freely and was not afraid to go over the top. Dhoni's shuffling of the bowlers didn't make much of an impact as Warner and Pandey kept attacking.
Pandey was the first to reach 50 in 25 balls, pulling one from Dwayne Bravo for a boundary.
Warner was a touch slower in comparison to Pandey, but didn't miss out when the opportunity presented itself and hit a couple of big sixes.
The pugnacious Warner fell against the run of play, victim of Dhoni's trademark lightning quick stumping off a Harbhajan delivery. The Australian, who is leading the run charts this season, fell for 57 (45 balls, 3x4, 2X6) after adding 115 runs for the second wicket with Pandey.