Naidu alleges misuse of electoral bonds, says new notes introduced to "buy votes"
New Delhi, May 18: TDP President and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Saturday attacked the Modi government, alleging that there has been misuse of electoral bonds and new Rs 500 and Rs 2000 notes were introduced after demonetisation to "buy votes".
Naidu, who was speaking at an event here on the eve of the last phase of polling, also stressed that counting of votes in 50 per cent of VVPATs can easily be done even though the Supreme Court has dismissed the petition on the same and ordered checking of VVPAT slips with only five with the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).
"What was the purpose behind the removal of old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes? It is very clear, by establishing new Rs 500 and Rs 2000 notes, this can be used to buy votes and people can expect money for each vote especially in the case of postal ballots," Naidu said.
He was addressing a conclave at the India International Centre where experts and former bureaucrats held discussions on the issue of independence of the Election Commission and electoral process. Naidu talked elaborately on the misuse of electoral bonds and demonetization, a state government release said.
Electoral bonds were created to assist all political parties in their efforts to raise funds but, Naidu alleged, there is no level playing field and "only some parties are getting these funds and not every party is benefitting from this". Irrespective of who wins or loses the election, Naidu said there is a need to ensure full and fair democratic election process. On VVPATs, the TDP chief said that the Election Commission is not ceding to its demand of counting 50 per cent VVPATs on the grounds that it will delay the entire results by six days.
“VVPATs can be counted on the same number of tables that are being used by EVMs and can be done in the presence of a Counting Agent and an Observation Officer to ensure that the counting takes place in a fair and transparent manner,” Naidu said.
He claimed that counting of votes cast by EVMs first and then a random selection of 5 VVPATs will throw up a lot of discrepancies in the overall counting and this should be done across all constituencies.
Former Supreme Court judge Madan Lokur, former Central Chief Election Commissioner Naveen Chawla, former Central Chief Election Commissioner S Y Qureishi, retired IAS officer K Raju and former Central Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habbibullah were among those who participated in the event.