In Rajya Sabha, Congress demands EVM use be stopped immediately
The Congress has joined the anti-EVM chorus after a purported video of an EVM tested ahead of by-polls in Madhya Pradesh showed the paper trail attached to it generating a receipt for the BJP.
The Congress became the latest party to demand a ban on electronic voting machines (EVMs) on Wednesday, two days after Aam Aadmi Party convener Arvind Kejriwal questioned the BJP’s election win in Uttar Pradesh.
Kejriwal has asked the Election Commission to release the EVMs for investigation into tampering allegations.
During a heated debate in the Rajya Sabha over the use of EVMs, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said: “EVM should be stopped right now. In the upcoming civic polls of Delhi, assembly polls in Gujarat and other states EVMs should not be used.”
The opposition parties had been vocal about alleged manipulations in the EVMs after the latest round of assembly elections. The BJP wrested Uttar Pradesh with a sweeping majority. The House was adjourned briefly amid protests.
The Samajwadi Party’s Naresh Agarwal said: “If there is a programming in the chip, the BJP will win.” BJP leaders Prakash Javadekar and Mukhtar Naqvi rejected the charges.
“There is no logic behind these allegations. EVMs were used in Bihar, in 2004 and 2009 Lok Sabha polls. When SP won in UP, the votes were casted in the same EVMs,” said Naqvi.
The Election Commission has dismissed the allegations and said its systems were tamperproof. It asked the AAP to introspect on its poll performance in Punjab, instead of blaming the EVMs — a comment that Kejriwal and other leaders have bristled against.
Kejriwal’s party came a distant runner-up, bucking projections that it will form the next government in Punjab — the party’s second after New Delhi.
The Congress too joined the anti-EVM chorus after a purported video of an EVM tested ahead of by-polls in Madhya Pradesh showed the paper trail attached to it generating a receipt for the BJP. The state chief electoral officer Saleena Singh had pressed the button for the Samajwadi Party candidate.
A voter-verified paper audit trail or 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.
Kejriwal’s said his “experts” can show in 72 hours how the machines could be tampered to suit a political party.