THE CITIZEN BUREAU | 4 FEBRUARY, 2019
In the run up to the Lok Sabha polls
NEW DELHI: Twenty two Opposition parties will be moving the Election Commission of India over the tampering of Electronic Voting Machines ( EVMs) today.
The decision was taken after a meeting in Parliament attended by, amongst others, Congress president Rahul Gandhi Nationalist Congress party chief Sharad Pawar, Samajwadi Party’s Ram Gopal Yadav, Bahujan Samaj Party’s Satish Chandra Mishra, DMK’s Kanimozhi, CPI’s D.Raja and Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien who announced the decision.
The meeting followed a series of discussions between opposition leaders on the sidelines of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s mega-rally. All had agreed then to take this issue further, given the reports from state elections and the widespread perception that the EVMs were being tampered with.
EVMs have been in controversy since deployed by the ECI with questions about tampering, and hacking of the machines. The Election Commission, however, is prepared today to allay the misgiving and “educate” the po;litical parties on the administrative and technical safeguards that it has maintained makes these machines completely tamper proof.
The ECI is opposed to a return to the ballot paper insisting that is a retrograde step.And while a small percentage of the machines, being electronic, do register faults this is not because of tampering. And that in every case the faulty EVM is replaced by a fully functional one. Sources told the media that not a single wrong vote is recorded even in a defective machine.
The Opposition, approached at different levels, by experts is convinced however, that more safeguards are required with a full VVPAT trail, essentially a paper trail that covers all constituencies. Eminent persons have recently moved the Supreme Court through a writ petition to ensure this.
The Election Commission had earlier challenged the opposition parties to hack a EVM machine but except for the NCP and the CPI-M, no one had turned up. The two political parties had come as observers. ECI sources told the media that they would remind the opposition parties of this.
However, it does seem that the use of electronic voting machines is going to be an issue in the run up to the Lok Sabha polls with the opposition parties not willing to take the chance of tampering, in view of the largescale apprehension. Both sides are now at opposing ends, with a case of EVM tampering being filed by a Telangana Congress losing candidate from Vikarabad just a day ago.
Read: EVMs Are Tamperable Writ Petition With SC to Direct EC To Ensure Extensive Use of Paper Trail