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Parliamentary panel to seek expert help to test authenticity of EVMs

india Updated: Mar 14, 2017 23:17 IST
Smriti Kak Ramachandran

Polling staff checking EVMs after their distribution in Mohali.(Keshav Singh/HT File Photo)

After several leaders cast doubts over the authenticity of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in elections, a parliamentary panel has decided to invite Indian and international experts to examine if they can be tampered with.

The latest to cast doubts was Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal who on Tuesday instructed his chief secretary to urge the state election office to hold municipal elections in Delhi through ballot papers. In a letter earlier in the day, Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken demanded the same, saying serious doubts have cropped up in the minds of voters about the free and fair nature of the electoral process. Hours after results of UP elections last Saturday, BSP chief Mayawati attributed her party’s debacle to the tampering of EVMs in favour of the BJP.

Although the poll panel has dismissed such concerns, the parliamentary standing committee on personnel, public grievances and law and justice has decided to re-visit the issue.

Panel chairman and senior Congress leader Anand Sharma told HT that the committee got several petitions from Maharashtra, casting doubts about the reliability of EVMs used in the recent civic polls. One of them was from a candidate in Pune who claimed to have got 29 members of his family to cast votes but the results showed he did not get a single vote. “We have got several such petitions and taken cognisance of them. We will call election commission officials and also invite experts from abroad as the chips used in the EVMs are not manufactured in India,” Sharma told HT.

EVMs were first used nationwide for the general elections in 2004 and 2009 and over 30 elections to state assemblies during the last five years.

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