Congress Working Committee (CWC) member Jagmeet Singh Brar has called upon the Election Commission to deploy new electronic voting machines (EVMs) with the voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) facility for the February 23 Moga byelection.
Brar said he had already made a written request to the chief election commissioner (CEC) and the union law minister on Thursday, stating that to have a free and fair poll, it was important that new technology be initiated with effect from this byelection.
In his letter to the CEC, Brar pointed out that the Delhi high court had observed on January 17 last year that the EVMs presently in use were not tamper-proof. He said senior advocate Ashok Desai, appearing for the CEC, had submitted in the Supreme Court on January 23 this year that EVMs fitted with the VVPAT system had been tested at about 180 polling stations and these should be used in the byelections this year.
Brar said the first byelection after this submission in the apex court was being held in Moga; hence, the new EVMs must be used there.
The Congress leader expressed the apprehension that EVMs in Punjab had been hacked by the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal and as such, free and fair elections were no more a possibility in the state.
According to Brar, more than 80 countries have already discarded EVMs and switched over to ballot boxes to ensure free and fair polls.