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EVM accuracy beyond doubt, says EC after alleged malfunctioning in MP 

The Election Commission’s report comes after days of controversy regarding the credibility of the machines after several parties questioned their effectiveness.

india Updated: Apr 30, 2017 09:01 IST
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Electronic Voting Machines being checked by Election Commission officials. (Shankar Mourya/HT File Photo)

The Election Commission on Friday dismissed allegations of EVM tampering in Madhya Pradesh’s Bhind and said the accuracy of voting machines was “beyond doubt”, as it sought to douse a political storm over the sensitive issue.

The poll panel cited a special team’s inquiry report to dismiss as “completely false” allegations that an EVM printed slips – voter-verified paper audit trail or VVPAT – with the BJP poll symbol lotus multiple times on pressing different buttons.

The row erupted after a purported video of an electronic voting machine (EVM) demonstration ahead of by-polls in two constituencies showed the paper trail generating a receipt for the BJP when state chief electoral officer Saleena Singh pressed the button for the Samajwadi Party candidate.

The Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had expressed doubts that the EVM was brought from Uttar Pradesh, implying that the BJP winning a brute majority in the recent assembly polls might have been due to EVM manipulation.

The poll panel said the special inquiry team led by Bhanwar Lal, the chief electoral officer of Andhra Pradesh, found “no anomaly or tampering in EVM and VVPAT used during the demonstration in Ater (Bhind)” on March 31.

The committee said the “accuracy of the functioning of EVMs and VVPATs including the said EVM/VVPAT is beyond doubt”.

The EC also said that the VVPAT used in the demonstration were brought from Uttar Pradesh but not the EVMs.

“Bringing the VVPAT from UP is not in violation of law. As per the law, only the EVMs used in the poll and the VVPAT slips contained in the box are required to be preserved for the period of 45 days in a secured manner for the purpose of election petition, if any,” the report said.

A VVPAT allows a voter to know if the machine registered a vote for the candidate selected. The slip is visible for seven seconds before it drops into a box.

The report said the EC “may like to fix responsibility” on the district election officer and returning officer who allegedly did not replace the previous data with names and symbols of dummy candidates in the VVPAT as per norms.

In the video of the purported EVM trial in Bhind, state chief electoral officer Singh was seen looking surprised on seeing the VVPAT receipt. She is also purportedly heard laughing and warning journalists that they could face police detention if the incident was reported.

HT couldn’t independently verify the authenticity of the video clip.

Singh, however, dismissed the charges and said the EVM wasn’t fully calibrated.

The EC later asked the Andhra Pradesh chief electoral officer to supervise the by-elections in Madhya Pradesh.

First Published: Apr 07, 2017 22:03 IST