According to the report, EC is considering a proposal to allow political parties and their leaders to hack an EVM of their choice.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and BSP supremo Mayawati had alleged that EVMs were tampered during recently concluded assembly elections. The controversy had rocked Parliament and EC had reportedly challenged political parties to hack the EVMs. Now, the Election Commission is framing guidelines, according to The Indian Express report. According to the report, EC is considering a proposal to allow political parties and their leaders to hack an EVM of their choice. It has been learned CM Kejriwal or Mayawati can pick up an EVM from the strong rooms in Punjab or Uttar Pradesh and try to prove the charge. But EC will not allow challengers to take the machines out of the EC building premises.
The AAP yesterday had appeared to press the panic button at the end of polling to Delhi’s municipal corporations with the party sniping at the state election commission over “faulty EVMs” and resultant “waste” of time. AAP spokesperson Richa Pandey Mishra claimed people had to go back from many polling stations as “several” electronic voting machines (EVM) turned out faulty, according to PTI report. “Many machines were faulty so people had to go back. The areas where faults were reported include Mangolpuri, Patparganj and many areas of south Delhi. In some machines, one could not hear any beep after pressing the AAP button,” she said.
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CM Kejriwal alleged in a tweet, “Reports from all over Delhi of EVM malfunction, people wid voter slips not allowed to vote. What is SEC doing? (sic).”
Notably, the Election Commission has set the ball rolling to buy over 16 lakh paper trail machines for EVMs in the next two years to be used in all polling stations in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The Commission issued letter of intent to ECIL and BEL –both PSUs — on Friday, two days after the Union Cabinet cleared its proposal to buy 16,15000 voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) units at an estimated cost of Rs 3,173.47 crore, according to PTI report.
The poll panel has informed them that the machines would be bought during 2017-18 and 2018-19.
The Commission will buy 8,07,500 paper trail units each from the two manufacturers by September, 2018.
Explaining the importance of the step, the Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi said today that “this will enhance transparency and uphold the voters’ right to know which party he or she has voted, thereby increasing voters’ confidence in the free and fair electoral process.”
The poll watchdog said in a statement that these machines be manufactured by both the PSUs only as per the design approved by the Commission based on recommendation of the Technical Experts Committee on EVMs constituted by it.
“The Commission shall closely monitor the production of VVPATs for timely delivery well before General Elections 2019,” it said.
Sixteen parties had recently petitioned the EC to revert to paper ballot system for greater transparency. The BSP, the AAP and the Congress had attacked the EC on the issue of alleged tampering of EVMs.
The VVPAT machines leave a paper trail which helps an elector confirm whether the EVM has faithfully registered the vote has has cast to a particular candidate.
Between September, 2013 and March this year, the Commission has written 38 times to the government on the procurement of VVPATs, according to an affidavit filed by the poll panel in the Supreme Court on the issue.
The Supreme Court has asked the Commission to give a tentative time-frame by which it can use VVPAT machines in all polling stations.
The EC says ECIL and BEL need 30 months to produce the over 16 lakh VVPATs.