CEC Says All Future Polls to Have EVMs With VVPATs
NEW DELHI: All future polls to Parliament and State Assemblies will have EVMs with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT), the Chief Election Commissioner Dr, Nasim Zaidi said on Friday.
He said that VVPATs slips of a percentage of EVMs, to be determined by the ECI, will be counted. The CEC was speaking at a day-long meeting of national and state political parties, convened by the EC, mainly to discuss the issue of EVMs and VVPATs. Seven national and 35 State political parties attended Friday’s meeting.
To counter allegations of EVM tampering and manipulation in the recently concluded polls to state assemblies, the CEC announced that a challenge was on the cards. He said that an opportunity would be on offer to political parties to demonstrate that EVMs used in the recent polls were tampered or that EVMs can be tampered even under the laid down technical and administrative safeguards.
The CEC said that Commission is open to hear suggestions on how to further improve integrity and credibility of EVMs.
Stressing that EC had “no favourites’’, Dr. Zaidi said: “You should be convinced that the Election Commission has no favourites…we maintain equidistance from all parties and groups. It is our constitutional and moral duty to stand dead centre of the circle drawn around us by 56 political parties [seven national and 49 State recognised parties].
All issues related to the EVMs and VVPATs were discussed and the parties were assured of the credibility of the machines by demonstrating the step by step procedure about how the EVM’s were foolproof. The secure design features of the machines were explained in detail to the parties.
Dr. Zaidi said that to make the election process more transparent, the Commission has made proposal for electoral reforms on misuse of money power and bribery during elections. The Commission has also made proposal for amendments in the Income Tax Act and in the Representation of People’s Act, 1951, for enhancing transparency in the funding of political parties.
The EC highlighted the wide range of technical, administrative protocol and procedural safeguards that fortify the EVMs and VVPATs against any sort of manipulation or tampering.
Several parties, including the AAP, the BSP and the Congress had blamed ”tampered machines” for the BJP’s victory in the recently held Assembly polls. Akali leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa said that EVMs were tamper-proof and that of the 37 cases filed so far, 30 have been decided in favour of machines. The Akalis have gracefully accepted the electoral defeat in Punjab, but the AAP has not, he added.
AAP MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj, who had held a ”demonstration” in the Delhi Assembly on the so-called hacking of the EVM, said the Commission had backed out from organising a ”hackathon”.