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EVM, VVPATs to continue: Election Commission rules out return to paper ballot

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New Delhi | Published: January 24, 2019 12:48:02 PM

The Election Commission today rejected the demand by Opposition parties seeking use of ballot papers during elections.

 Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Rawat, Sunil Rawat, election commission, london hackathon, bjp, congress, ravi shankar prasad, kapil sibalChief Election Commissioner Sunil Rawat (ANI)

The Election Commission today rejected the demand by Opposition parties seeking use of ballot papers during elections and said that it will continue to use EVMs & VVPATs. The poll body also said it was open to any criticism or feedback from stake holders including political parties.

“We will continue to use EVMs and VVPATs. We are open to any criticism and feedback from any stakeholder including political parties. At the same time, we are not going to be intimidated, bullied or coerced into giving up these and start era of ballot papers”said Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Rawat on Thursday.

The Election Commission had earlier rejected claims by an hacker in a London hackathon programme saying he could hack Electronic Voting Machines (EVM)s that are used in the country. In a statement, the EC had said it would explore what legal actions could be taken.

The claims made at the event provided another opportunity for Opposition parties to target the government and seek a probe by the Election Commission. Many opposition parties have made similar claims on different occasions in the past as well.

In a recent development, however, BJP accused the Congress of backing an event where allegations were made but no evidence provided. The BJP’s allegations came after Kapil Sibal was seen participating in the event.

“In what capacity was Kapil Sibal present at the EVM hackathon event? Is the Congress-sponsored event designed to defame the popular mandate of India?” Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had earlier asked.

Slamming the party further, the minister said that the Congress knows it will be defeated in the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha, because of which it is trying to find an excuse for its defeat. He had also noted that countries across the globe praise country’s Election Commission for conducting polls in a free and fair manner.

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On his part, Kapil Sibal had replied back saying he attended the event in a personal capacity. He had also called for a probe in the allegations made by a “cyber expert” on the hacking of EVMs for free and fair elections in the country

He also suggested that the BJP government should focus on verifying allegations rather than making wild charges against the Congress.

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