It's the eve of counting day. In a few hours from now, the electronic voting machines (EVMs) will be unsealed and the counting of votes will begin. It has been one of the most acrimonious elections in recent memory and there was controversy even today.
The Election Commission (EC) on Wednesday rejected the demand made by over 20 opposition parties seeking voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) slips be counted before the EVMs. However the order is yet to be made public.
A short while ago, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi explained why the opposition parties were demanding VVPAT verification before the final counting was done. The BJP, however, believes that the Opposition is looking for an excuse for their impending loss.
Meanwhile, all parties are keeping a round-the-clock vigil on storage rooms where EVMs have been kept. While senior Congress leader and Bhopal candidate Digvijay Singh was seen surveying strongrooms in his constituency, Agra's Congress candidate Raj Babbar also monitored EVM security there. SP-BSP Mahagathbandhan workers are also guarding EVMs in Meerut, pressing on the need for having security in strongrooms till counting begins.
Leaders of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and Congress-led United Progressive Alliance are holding meetings ahead of the crucial day. Last night, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah hosted a dinner for NDA allies. UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi has sent letters to all key players, including former Uttar Pradesh chief ministers, Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav, for a meeting on May 23.