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EC calls all-party meet on May 12 to discuss EVM tampering allegations

Many opposition parties raised questions over the reliability of EVMs after the recent assembly elections in five states.

india Updated: May 05, 2017 00:33 IST
EVM,Election Commission,Tampering
Polling officers check EVMs at a distribution centre ahead of the assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh.(HT File)

The Election Commission will hold an all-party meeting on May 12 to make a last ditch effort to convince political parties, which have alleged that electronic voting machines (EVMs) can be easily manipulated, ahead of its challenge to hack the devices that transformed polling in India.

Several opposition parties have raised concerns over the efficiency of the EVMs following the assembly elections in 5 states and demanded the commission revert to paper ballots.

Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) was the first one to complain against the EVMs and alleged that large-scale tampering of EVMs aided the Bharatiya Janata Party in its sweeping victory in Uttar Pradesh in March. Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, the Samajwadi Party, as well as the Congress, had echoed those allegations.

The row over EVMs was back in the headlines after allegations in Madhya Pradesh’s Ater, ahead of a bypoll in April, that a device registered votes only for the saffron party during a media demonstration.

The allegations have been vehemently denied by the poll panel.

Last week, chief election commissioner Nasim Zaidi said a meeting of all recognised political parties would be organised to address any doubts that persist on the efficiency of the machines.

During it hacking challenge, the poll panel will explain how the voting machines are tamper-proof and secured under administrative and technical safeguards just as it has in the past.

The commission had announced a similar challenge in 2009 and claimed no one could hack its EVMs.

First Published: May 04, 2017 13:31 IST