Polling officials seen carrying EVMs.(Sanchit Khanna/HT PHOTO)
Polling officials seen carrying EVMs.(Sanchit Khanna/HT PHOTO)

‘EVMs can’t be tampered with, not returning to ballot paper’: CEC Arora

The statement assumes significance after the final voter turnout figure in the Delhi polls was delayed by more than 24 hours raising questions on the reliability of the EVMs.
By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 12, 2020 01:43 PM IST

Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora on Wednesday underlined that the Election Commission will not go back to the ballot paper and that the electronic voting machines are here to stay.

The statement assumes significance after the final voter turnout figure in the Delhi polls was delayed by more than 24 hours raising questions on the reliability of the EVMs.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal called it “extremely shocking”. Echoing his party leader’s views, senior leader and Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh said that this is perhaps the first time in the country’s history that the Election Commission is not ready to release the voter turnout data, after the completion of the polls.

“The percentage of voting in Delhi elections is what the people of Delhi and the country want to know. Why is the Election Commission taking so long to tell the voting percentage? Within 1 hour in the Lok Sabha elections, the Election Commission reveals the voting percentage, why so much delay in a small state like Delhi?” Singh asked.

The CEC, speaking at the Times Now Summit, said that the Commission would engage with political parties in the coming days on various electoral reforms and the model code of conduct.

He said EVMs can malfunction like a car or a pen but they cannot be tampered with.He said the machines are in use for 20 years now and there was no question of returning to the ballot paper.

Various courts, including the Supreme Court, have upheld the use of the machines to cast votes, he pointed out.

The day-to-day political dialogue, contended the CEC, is becoming “more coarse “ and it should be “avoided”.

A case in point is the gag order on BJP’s Parvesh Verma, West Delhi lawmaker who was banned twice by the Election Commission for his inflammatory remarks in the run-up to the Delhi election. He had called Arvind Kejriwal a “terrorist”.

On January 30, the poll panel had barred Verma for four days for his remarks on Shaheen Bagh where a gathering has been on a sit-in protest for over a month. Verma had allegedly said those participating at Shaheen Bagh could enter homes to rape and kill women, indicating the site would be cleared on BJP being elected to power.

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