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Don’t blame EVMs for poor show in Punjab, poll panel tells AAP

The party had sought verifications of votes cast using EVMs in the Punjab assembly elections.

india Updated: Apr 02, 2017 20:20 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
EVM,Aam Aadmi Party,Arvind Kejriwal
Aam Aadmi Party convener and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and other party leaders outside Election Commission office after meeting chief election commissioner Nasim Zaidi onSaturday. (Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)

The Election Commission (EC) on Sunday hit back at the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), saying it should “introspect” on its performance in the recently concluded assembly elections in Punjab instead of blaming the functioning of electronic voting machines (EVMs).

The poll panel’s comment was in response to a representation that AAP had submitted to the EC on March 25 seeking verifications of votes cast using EVMs in the Punjab assembly elections.

The party urged for crosschecking of the votes polled with the voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) data to settle the issue of EVM safety.

“It is for your party to introspect as to why it could not perform as per your expectations and it is unfair on the part of your party to attribute the unsatisfactory poll performance to the alleged tamperability of EVMs,” EC secretary Arvind Anand said in a letter to the AAP.

The VVPAT dispenses a slip with the symbol of the party for which a person has voted for.

Rejecting the AAP’s plea for verifications of votes, the EC said it was fully satisfied with the tamper-proof functioning of the EVMs.

AAP chief and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had also visited the Election Commission on Saturday to lodge a protest about the functioning of the EVMs, reiterating that the devices were “fudged repeatedly” in elections.

The Congress also raised the EVM malfunctioning issue on Friday after some media reports suggested that VVPAT machine was dispensing slips of BJP symbol only during a demonstration exercise in Madhya Pradesh’s Bhind.

Anand further said that the Supreme Court had never cast any aspersion or expressed any doubt that “election process is interdicted/rigged by use of EVMs.”

“The Commission strongly objects to this wrong and imaginary extrapolation of the Supreme Court’s order. This may please be noted as a responsible political party,” Anand’s letter says.

Following its electoral debacle in Punjab, AAP had raised allegations that the EVM’s can be tampered with.

The EC said such allegations have been dismissed by various high courts “unequivocally reiterating that given the effective technical and administrative safeguards, EVMs are not tamperable and integrity of electoral process is fully preserved.”

The poll panel said it has put in place an elaborate technical and administrative system of safeguards to ensure error-free functioning of the EVMs in elections.

Stating that EVMS used in the polls go through mock test on three occasions in the presence of agents of political parties/contesting candidates, the commission said no credible evidence of malfunctioning of any of the devices was brought to it notice when the process was followed ahead of Punjab elections.

First Published: Apr 02, 2017 20:20 IST