Mixed Response From Political Parties On Credibility Of EVMs

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The Chief Election Commissioner Nadeem Zaidi addresses the all-party meeting on EVMs in New Delhi on Friday. — Photo courtesy The Hindu

After a couple of days, the poll panel would allow claimants to prove that EVMs can be tampered with

NEW DELHI (PTI) — The all-party meeting convened by the Election Commission to discuss the reliability of the EVMs — an issue flagged by opposition parties — got underway in New Delhi on Friday.

After the inaugural address by the Chief Election Commissioner, the electoral body will hold a demonstration on EVM and VVPAT.

After a couple of days, the poll panel would allow claimants to prove that EVMs can be tampered with.

Akali leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa said “EVMs are tamper proof and that of the 37 cases filed so far, 30 have been decided in favour of machines.” Mr. Sirsa said “the Akali gracefully accepted the electoral defeat in Punjab, but AAP has not.”

The date of the proposed challenge would be decided after the all-party meeting.

All the seven national and 35 of the 48 state recognised political parties are attending the meeting.

A detailed presentation on electronic voting machines’ security features will be made by the EC top brass to prove that the machines are tamper-proof — a fear raised by the opposition parties.

Days before the proposed meet, the Aam Admi Party had staged a demonstration on hacking a ‘voting machine’ in the Delhi Assembly. The party had used an EVM prototype to make the demonstration.

The EC had trashed the AAP’s claim, saying the ‘machine is a look-alike and not the ECI-EVM’

Some parties have demanded they be allowed access to the machines used in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls.

Sixteen opposition parties had recently told the Commission that it should revert to the paper ballot system, claiming that the faith of the people has “eroded” in the machines.

Several parties, including AAP, BSP and Congress had blamed tampered machines for the victory of BJP in the recently-held assembly polls.

Disqualifying candidates named in a charge sheet for bribing voters, making electoral graft a non—bailable offence and easing of rules to order counting of votes through paper trail are some of the other issues Election Commission will discuss with political parties tomorrow.

“The Election Commission has convened a meeting with all recognised national and state political parties on May 12 in New Delhi to discuss issue related to EVM and VVPAT.

“In addition to the EVM/VVPAT, the agenda will also cover making bribery in elections a cognisable offence, disqualification on framing of charges for the offences of bribery in elections and suggestions in VVPAT recount rules,” it had said in a statement last week.

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