Not part of Botswana’s hackers challenge to tamper India-made EVMs: BEL
There were media reports that the election commission of Botswana invited experts to hack into the EVMs after the recent controversy over the reliability of the devices in India.india Updated: May 16, 2017 09:16 IST
An Indian EVM manufacturer has denied it has been invited to participate in a challenge to hack the machines in Botswana.
Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), one of the two manufacturers of electronic voting machines in India, said it has only been invited to demonstrate the functions of the machines.
There were media reports that the election commission of Botswana invited experts to hack into the India-made EVMs after the recent controversy over the reliability of the devices in India.
Several political parties in India had alleged that the EVMs were manipulated in the recently concluded assembly elections in five states to benefit the BJP, a charge Election Commission of India vehemently denied.
A report on the portal ITWEBAfrica set off speculation that in the wake of questions being raised in India about the tamperability of the EVMs, Botswana too has decided to hold a challenge, inviting hackers.
“Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) officials have invited hackers to prove whether or not the country’s proposed electronic voting machine system can be manipulated. The new voting system is expected to be used for the country’s next general elections in 2019,”the report, which was subsequently quoted by Indian media read.
In a statement BEL clarified that it neither sold EVMs to the African nation nor will be part of any challenge to tamper these machines.
It also clarified that it has only been called to demonstrate the functions of EVMs and paper trail machines or the VVPAT, which have been designed for Botswana and are different from the ones used in India.
BEL said the statement put out by the Botswana election commission is “without our approval/consent and the facts stated therein are complete false and baseless”.
The ITWEBAfrica report was tweeted by the supporters of the Aam Admi Party (AAP), which has levelled allegations that the EVMs used in the last round of assembly elections in February-March in five states including Uttar Pradesh were tampered.
The Party, despite the election commission’s demonstration about the safeguards of the system has questioned the impartiality of the poll panel.
On Friday, the poll panel made yet another attempt to reach out to political parties to eradicate doubts about the functioning of the EVMs and their safeguards.
Barring the AAP, TMC, BSP and PMK most parties came out in support of the EVMs, provided they are used with paper trail machines.
The Commission has announced that elections, including the upcoming assembly polls in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, will be conducted using paper trail machines or VVPATs.
It will hold an open challenge next week, inviting representatives of political parties to choose the EVMs used in the recently concluded elections and show how they can be manipulated.