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Delhi University got EVMs in 2007, tough protocols came later: Officials

The election commission has already denied any association with the machines in question. Officials at the university said these machines were purchased between 2006 and 2007. The stringent protocols that are currently in place came later, they said.

delhi Updated: Sep 15, 2018 02:37 IST
HT Correspondent
EVM,Delhi University,DUSU
Winning ABVP candidates pose after results of DUSU elections were declared.(HT Photo)

The procurement of electronic voting machines (EVMs) by the Delhi University (DU) for its students’ union elections has given rise to a political storm with several parties alleging tampering.  

The election commission has already denied any association with the machines in question. Officials at the university said these machines were purchased between 2006 and 2007. The stringent protocols that are currently in place came later, they said.

The officials at the university said over 7,000 EVMs were bought from Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL), the company that provides EVMs to Election Commission of India (ECI). The DU was the first university to introduce EVMs in student union elections in 2007.

Eleven years on, it continues to use the same set of machines.

“The machines are kept in a confidential location throughout the year. Every year, before the student union election, a team of ECIL engineers conduct two-level checking of the machines,” a senior official said.

Despite several attempts, officials from ECIL did not comment on the matter. Also, calls and messages to DU vice-chancellor Yogesh Tyagi and the university’s election committee officer V K Kaul went unanswered.

Political parties such as the Congress and the AAP alleged that the EVMs were “tampered with” during the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) elections, the results of which were allowed on Thursday night.

The RSS-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad swept three of the four positions, while Congress-backed National Students Union of India had to be content with one.

Although political parties alleged that the EVMs were procured in violation of ECI norms, DU officials said the revised norms came in 2010, three years after they got the EVMs.

As per the revised norms, the ECI does not provide or sell EVMs that are no longer in use to any local body, state or university to conduct elections nor can buyers procure these machines from the manufacturers without the consent of the poll panel.

“It was decided in 2010 that all machines that are discontinued by the ECI after 15 years of use will be destroyed,” an ECI official said.

Delhi election commissioner SK Shrivastava said, “The municipal elections, and even the elections in Chandigarh, were held with EVMs borrowed from the ECI. The state does not procure EVMs. The question in this case is whether the DU election committee had taken permission of the ECI to conduct the students’ union election using these machines,” he said.

First Published: Sep 15, 2018 02:37 IST