The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Wednesday rejected demands of opposition parties’ regarding the voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT). The ECI has also set up a 24-hour EVM Control Room at Nirvachan Sadan to monitor complaints relating to polled EVMs. Any complaints during counting related to EVMs can be informed at control room number is 011-23052123, the poll body said. Earlier, a group of technocrats had expressed doubts over the immunity of EVMs from tampering and hacking. Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu also said that VVPAT slips should be used as ballot paper to stop the suspected manipulation of EVMs.

Congress leader Udit Raj on Wednesday put a question mark on the impartiality of the Supreme Court and wanted to know if the top court itself was involved in the rigging as it is not evincing any interest in counting the number of VVPAT slips, reports said on Wednesday. Questioning the role of the Supreme Court, Raj said he wants the VVPAT slips to be counted. Raj’s statement came hours after 22 political parties moved a fresh plea before the Supreme Court seeking 100 per cent VVPAT count. The Supreme Court rejected the request of the parties to increase in the number of VVPAT slips on the grounds that it will cause a delay. Udit Raj also said the election process hampered development work in the country for 3 months, so what is the big deal if it takes 1-2 days more to count the VVPT slips.

Delhi MP Udit Raj, who had been denied a BJP ticket to contest from Northwest Delhi, was welcomed by Congress President Rahul Gandhi into the party. Before joining the Congress, Raj had also posted a Tweet saying he will resign from the BJP if the party does not name him as a candidate from the North West seat for the ongoing 17th Lok Sabha election. But the BJP replaced him with singer-politician Hans Raj Hans as its candidate for the North West Delhi constituency seat. Udit Raj had won from the seat in 2014.

Earlier, Raj had said he trusted the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and merged his Indian Justice Party with the BJP but now he feels that many regional parties have benefited more by remaining independent. The Dalit leader also said he is deeply hurt that he was not given a chance to defend himself.

Raj had won in 2014. As a mark of protest, before joining the Congress today, the former Indian Justice Party chief removed the prefix chowkidar from his Twitter handle. Raj is a sitting member of parliament from the reserved northwest Delhi parliamentary seat and the National Chairman of the All India Confederation of SC/ST Organisations. He had joined BJP on February 23, 2014.

Earlier, he was a vocal critic of the BJP but after getting a ticket from the party Raj praised the political organisation for being more sympathetic to the aboriginal SC/ST communities and declared that the Dalits have a brighter future in the organisation. Raj, a Dalit, was converted from Hinduism to Buddhism in 2001.

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