EVM row: AAP says its own team built replica that was ‘tampered’ with in Delhi assembly
Aam Aadmi Party says it is not difficult to access an EVM. A day after giving a live demo in Delhi assembly, the party insists its own engineers worked for months to put a replica together.Updated: May 31, 2017 16:50 IST
The Aam Aadmi Party insisted on Wednesday that the dummy EVM used in the live demonstration in Delhi assembly was put together by its own team of engineers, amid intense speculation over where the machine had come from.
Hacking an EVM belonging to the Election Commission is a criminal offence, and though the party carried out the ‘experiment’ inside the Delhi Assembly to avoid legal consequences, sources within AAP said they were aware of the implications of ‘hacking’ a real EVM.
They said that the prototype they had developed looked exactly like the EC’s original EVM but they changed its look before the demonstration. The idea, the party said, was to show that the machine can be manipulated to favour a particular party.
AAP MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj conducted a mock poll with the EVM replica to demonstrate that the can be manipulated. The party says the demonstration strengthens their claim that the system can be rigged.
Sources said the party knew about the parts of EVM and companies who manufacture it and import it and similar parts and software were used in the replica. Whether they had an original EVM or not is something they don’t want to confirm but party sources said that some EVMs were found in the scrap in 2009 so “it is not difficult to get access to EVMs”.
“The EC also imports parts of EVMs from Japan and the US. There is no science behind it. In 2009, 4,000 EVMs were stolen in Vijaywada and some of them were later found in scrap. If an EVM can reach the scrap market then it can reach a technology enthusiast also,” an AAP source said.
The Election Commission, however, junked these claims and said that any machine carried out of their premises ceases to be an EVM used for polling. An EC official told HT on Wednesday: “The contention (that an EVM can be procured easily is) absolutely baseless and misleading. Whenever EVMs get stolen and FIRs lodged. Such EVMs cannot enter back into our ECI stock.”
The sources said after managing the parts – motherboard, display unit, cable and micro control and EEP ROM, the party members, who have engineering background, assembled it. The party sources refused to divulge details of sources of these parts but said that EVMs can be hacked through these parts also.
“There are volunteers of AAP who are from IIT and worked with micro processing companies. They have helped us in assembly and carrying out the trial runs. We showed just one method of hacking, there could be many more,” said a party member.
The machine was assembled and several trial runs were carried out to find how it can be hacked.
The party has now challenged the poll panel to give them the voting machines so that they could show how to hack them, which is enough to understand that they knew everything about the original EVMs.
“People with a lot of good intentions are behind it and are a part of our system. Exposing them will be dishonouring them,” Greater Kailash MLA Bhardwaj said when asked about the source of EVM displayed in the assembly.
Bhardwaj said after ‘breaking the code’ last week, the team carried out dummy runs at least 25 times. On Tuesday, after reaching the assembly, Bhardwaj and the team carried a test run to avoid glitches.
“If you see the chief minister’s tweet of the past few months, you will realise that we were working on this,” Bhardwaj added.
Kejriwal has alleged that EVM manipulation helped the BJP win the massive mandate in Uttar Pradesh and also blamed the machines for the AAP’s defeat in the recent by-polls and civic elections in Delhi, a charge challenged by some of his own party leaders.