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EVM row: AAP dares EC to give machine to ‘hack’

AAP MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj says party ready to take on EC challenge. Congress ‘sympathiser’ Tehseen Poonawalla holds a press conference with activist VV Rao in Delhi over the EVM issue. He asks the poll panel to bring in experts and address concerns over EVMs.

delhi Updated: May 31, 2017 16:50 IST
Sweta Goswami
Sweta Goswami
Hindustan Times
Clarifying that the Congress was not with the AAP, Poonawalla said that he had collaborated with the party on the issue as the Election Commission had refused to pay heed to his concerns.(HT FILE)

A day after AAP raised the pitch on the EVM issue by holding a demonstration in the Delhi Assembly, AAP leader Saurabh Bhardwaj said that the party was waiting to be invited by Election Commission to hold the same ‘demo’. He said the party will successfully conduct the same test on an EC machine or ask people for forgiveness.

“We are waiting for an invitation from Election Commission. Tomorrow, if the election commission invites us, we will go and hack their machines, or else apologise to people,” said AAP leader Saurabh Bhardwaj in a television channel interview. “The election commission is trying the hide the vulnerability of EVMs by saying it is kept in a secured environment. But the hacking happens after the EVM reaches the polling booth,” he said.

Stepping up the heat on the EVM issue, Congress ‘sympathiser’ Tehseen Poonawalla held his own ‘show’ in the Capital on Wednesday. Clarifying that the Congress was not with the AAP, Poonawalla said that he had collaborated with the party on the issue as the Election Commission had refused to pay heed to his concerns. Poonawalla was accompanied by activist VV Rao who said that over 500 complaints over EVMs were lying pending with the poll panel.

Poonawalla questioned the reliability of EVMs and asked the Election Commission to bring in experts to dispel doubts. At the press conference at Delhi’s Constitution Club, Poonawalla claimed that a day before local elections in Pune, ECI issued a notice saying the code for an EVM was wrong without even sealing or verifying the machine. “The first proof: Votes did not tally in 41 wards in Pune,” he said, adding, “I first realised about EVM tampering when an MP in Mumbai had told me the exact number the party was winning by, which turned out to be true.”

“The debate is not whether EVMs can be hacked, it’s about how to make it fool-proof in future,” he said.

VV Rao, who is an election watch activist and the main petitioner in the PIL filed in the Supreme Court on EVMs, said, “I appreciate what AAP did yesterday. For the first time EVM tampering was discussed in an Assembly House. People sitting in Election Commission know nothing about technology. They are mere administrators. Even VVPATs are not verifiable. It still fails to ensure protection of votes cast by citizens.”

Rao flagged the alleged malfunctioning of the EVM in Bhind and said that no expert was sent to conduct the enquiry. “Chips used in our EVMs come from Japan, the technology is from US, then why can’t the ECI bring experts from abroad to verify,” Rao said.

He also added that in 2013, SC made it mandatory to use EVMs only through VVPATs. “ECI is blatantly violating this. It is contempt of court,” he said.

Meanwhile, rebel AAP leader Kapil Mishra began hunger strike at his home. Mishra, on Wednesday, wrote another letter to Kejriwal urging him to reveal detail of foreign trips by the party leaders. “I am sitting on a ‘satyagraha’ till I get a clarification on details of international travel expenses of some senior AAP leaders. It is not a dharna but a satyagraha. I would like to send out a message to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to put out the details of the foreign tours of his five AAP leaders - Satyendra Jain, Ashish Khetan, Raghav Chaddha, Sanjay Singh and Durgesh Pathak in public domain,” Mishra said

First Published: May 10, 2017 14:55 IST