The Punjab and Haryana high court on Thursday asked the Election Commission to ensure foolproof security of electronic voting machines (EVMs) used for February 4 polls in Punjab and came down heavily on the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for doubting reliability of EVMs.
“You (AAP) rose to power on EVMs in Delhi… did you or did you not?” the HC division bench of justice Mahesh Grover and justice Shekher Dhawan said, orally observing that the AAP was trying to deride the process by raking up such issues. “If you win, it is fair. But otherwise, you say something else. That is not fair,” the HC bench observed, adding that the AAP should not have raised the issue of vulnerability of EVMs.
In the petition, AAPs Punjab unit had raised questions on the security of EVMs at strongrooms in Jalandhar, Phillaur, Shahkot, Jalandhar West and Tarn Taran.
CEO allays fears
Punjab chief electoral officer VK Singh said they have taken all possible steps to secure the EVMs. The EC has already installed CCTV cameras outside the strongrooms with monitors at the entrance. The strongrooms, he said, are virtually impregnable with two-tier security.
Paranoia or caution?
The Congress and SAD on Thursday accused the AAP of being paranoid. “They are making a mountain out of a molehill,” said Capt Sandeep Singh Sandhu, a close aide of state Congress chief Capt Amarinder Singh. “We have been in the Opposition for 10 years. We are also keeping an eye on the strongrooms, but we haven’t pressed the panic button,” he said.
Maheshinder Singh Grewal of SAD, while admitting that Akali Dal volunteers are also keeping an eye on the EVMs, claimed that AAP was raising a hue and cry as the party is fearing defeat. “This is not jungle raj, the strongrooms are secure. We can’t believe that someone will tamper with the EVMs,” he said.
Garry Birring, AAP state coordinator for the vigil on EVMs, however, had a different take on it. Saying that AAP was being very cautious as it was sure of its victory. Birring said every candidate had been asked to arrange a 15-member team of volunteers. Two volunteers have been given access till the sealed door of the strongroom. “They file a report every day,” he said.