New Delhi: The EC of India has decided to throw an open challenge to test the trustworthiness of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), in reply to a flurry of allegations from political parties that the EVMs could be tampered.
According to a source, the poll panel has decided to bring back the exercise which was conducted in 2009, when similar allegations were made against EVMs.
“We will soon confirm a date for this open challenge. In 2009, too, the EC of India had thrown an open challenge for political parties to demonstrate how EVMs owned by the EC of India can be tampered with. No party could prove it. Since such anxieties have been raised once again, we have decided to repeat the exercise to put all doubts to rest,” the EC sources as saying.
Reps from political parties will be invited to take part in the challenge, stated the report.
On Monday, Delhi CM and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal had challenged the EC to make the EVMs available to the party for 72 hours and appealed that “we will read the code and rewrite it too”.
Other Opposition parties, including the Congress, Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Trinamool Congress (TMC) have also appealed that EVMs had been tampered in the recently concluded Assembly elections, to enable a BJP victory.
BSP chief Mayawati had in particular claimed that EVM tampering was responsible for her party’s terrible performance in the UP polls, a charge also made by SP and Congress for their own poor showing.
The AAP had responsible EVM tampering for its loss in Punjab, a state which was, remarkably, won by the Congress.
Parties have demanded that EVMs should not be used for elections unless fortified with a Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) facility.
These claims gained currency on Saturday following reports that a Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machine used during a trial in MP only dispensed slips with the BJP’s poll symbol. While the EC has continued to maintain that EVMs cannot be tampered with, it suspended 3 SHOs in Behind of MP following the incident.