Gandhinagar: The Election Commission said on Sunday it would conduct random votecounts on electronic voting machines (EVMs) and slips of voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) at one polling station in each of Gujarat’s 182 assembly constituencies.

The announcement came a day after opposition parties alleged that BJP had manipulated EVMs for a landslide victory in mayoral polls in UP. “To maintain faith of the people in the EVM/VVPAT system, we have decided to count all the VVPAT vote slips and match them with the EVM control unit vote data at one polling station in each constituency,” said chief election commissioner A K Joti. “Polling booths will be randomly selected through draws made in the presence of all candidates in a constituency.” Revealing that EC intends to do the same in Himachal Pradesh, the CEC said, “Earlier, in the Goa elections, some candidates raised objections and counting of VVPAT slips was done in four polling stations. It matched EVC control unit data 100%.”

Responding to videos on social media alleging widespread EVM tampering in UP civic elections in favour of BJP, he said, “Local government elections are conducted by state election commissions only. EC did not conduct elections of local bodies in UP. They used M1 type EVMs while we use M2 and advanced version EVMs.’’ Joti further said, “Political parties demanded removal of the clause penalising a voter if his/her complaint regarding wrong recording of vote in VVPAT turns out to be incorrect. The commission will decide this later.’’ Joti and other election commissioners had two-daylong discussion with all district election officers, police officers and top state officials, including the chief secretary and the DGP, and reviewed the preparations for the elections. They also met representatives of political parties and heard their suggestions.

“One political party also demanded installation of jammers outside the booths and not allowing mobile phones. We will examines their suggestions and take the call accordingly,” he added.