The Election Commission of India (EC) on Wednesday expressed confidence that it will be able to hold the forthcoming elections to Gujarat Assembly using Electronic Voting Machines with Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) if it receives the machines it has ordered on time. In an affidavit filed in Supreme Court, the EC said it is short of 16,500 VVPATs - of a total 70,000 required for the Gujarat elections - and has ordered for more.
The EC said in its affidavit: "…The ECI currently has 53,500 VVPAT units in its possession and the number of VVPAT units required for conducting election to the Gujarat legislative assembly is 70,000 units. The ECI is expected to receive delivery of 48,000 VVPAT units from Bharat Electronics Ltd and Electronics Corporation of India Ltd by August 31, 2017 and another 25,500 VVPAT units in September 2017." If this consignment of VVPATs is delivered on time, the Commission stated, it "expects to be able" to conduct the Gujarat elections "completely with the use of VVPATs".
The affidavit was filed following a direction from the apex court. While hearing a petition seeking use of VVPAT machines in Gujarat election, the court had asked EC about its current stock of these machines. Reshma Vithabhai Patel, convener of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, which was in the forefront of the Patel quota agitation in Gujarat, had filed the petition.