EVM challenge today: NCP, CPI(M) have from 10am to 2pm to tamper with machines

Six representatives, two from each party, attempt to prove EVM’s can be rigged to alter votes during and after polling

india Updated: Jun 03, 2017 12:48 IST
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
EVM challenge,EVM tampering,election commission
Election Commission officers conduct a demonstration on May 20 of voting machines and their paper audit components while announcing the schedule of the “EVM challenge”. (Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)

Six representatives from two political parties are attempting on Saturday to prove their allegations that electronic voting machines can be tampered

The NCP and the CPI(M) will be given at the Election Commission headquarters in Delhi 14 voting machines used in the elections recently held in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

CPI(M)’s representatives for the event are Ravindranath RB, Bappa Aditya Sinha and Rahul De, who is with IIM Bangalore.

Former Rajya Sabha member Vandana Hemant Chavan, Gaurav Jayprakash Jachak and Yasin Hussain’s Shaikh will represent the NCP at the Open Challenge event that was scheduled to start from 10am to 2pm.

None of the other parties that doubted EVM security have signed up for the challenge.

The Aam Aadmi Party has announced its own event.

The EC has laid down guidelines for parties to adhere to while tampering the machines. They cannot change the internal circuitry or take the machines outside the premises.

Earlier, the EC specified that the challenge will be to open to those who alleged that the EVMs used in the 2017 assembly polls were rigged to favour a particular candidate/political party by altering the results stored in the machines after the polls.

In this case, the claimants will have to alter the results in the control unit used during the polls in exactly the same scenario as the EVMs remain within the administrative and technical safeguards in the storage rooms.

They can do so by using external devices such as Bluetooth and mobile phones.

The second scenario will be for challengers to prove that the EVMs were tampered before or during polling.

Here too, the claimants will have to prove their allegation by showing how the machines can be tampered with in the same scenarios in which the machines are stored.

The CPI criticised the election commission for not allowing political parties to observe the event.

Only parties that have sent representatives to take part in the challenge are being allowed to attend the exercise.

In a letter to the poll panel, the CPI said: “We strongly condemn the stand of the Election Commission of not allowing our party and for that matter all those parties who would like to observe the process in the interest of transparency for the healthy traditions of democracy.”

The party said the poll panel’s letter of invitation did not mention that only those who will practically participate to show if machines can be tampered with will be allowed to attend.

“We are of the strong opinion that this approach of secrecy in such an exercise is in contravention to the spirit of your invitation letter seeking cooperation from political parties. It is deplorable and raises doubts about the motive of Election Commission behind this denial,” the letter says.

First Published: Jun 03, 2017 10:04 IST