Only CPM, NCP accept Election Commission’s EVM challenge, AAP and Cong stay away
After failing to convince political parties about EVM safeguards, the Election Commission scheduled the challenge for recognised national and regional political parties.india Updated: May 26, 2017 23:28 IST
The Sharad Pawar-led NCP and the CPM are the only parties to accept the Election Commission’s challenge to prove that electronic voting machines (EVMs) can be tampered with, officials said after the deadline for registration ended on Friday.
The most notable absentee, when the challenge opens on June 3, will be the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) that led a campaign over the vulnerability of EVMs.
While eight parties responded, only two agreed to participate in the challenge, EC officials said.
Other parties such as the BJP, RLD, CPI and CPI(M) have “expressed their intent to observe”, they added. Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD)’s application was rejected as it was received after the deadline.
The Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP, Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party and Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress had claimed that EVMs used in the five-state assembly polls earlier this year were manipulated to swing votes in favour of the ruling BJP.
The BJP won three including the politically crucial state of Uttar Pradesh.
The EVMs for the exercise will be brought from Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, the EC said.
After failing to convince the parties about EVM safeguards, the EC scheduled the challenge for recognised national and regional political parties. It had asked these parties to nominate a maximum of three representatives to manipulate the EVMs to prove their allegations.
The AAP did not agreee with the conditions laid down by the poll panel.
The party had sought permission to change the internal circuitry of the machines, which was turned down by the panel saying it was “irrational and implausible”.
On Friday, the AAP accused the EC of “running away from a no-holds-barred hackathon”.
“Hackers are invited to test the security of any system, using any tools available. Such ethical hacking is to help understand loopholes, so that they can be removed in the future,” the AAP said in a letter to the panel.
The Congress also declined to participate, citing the “extensive terms and conditions that the challenge imposes” which it said will not allow “challengers to conduct a thorough test of the EVMs”.
It asked the poll panel to revise the rules to “ensure that the spirit behind it is not defeated in the guise of rules, which hinder it.”