EC to link all EVMs to VVPAT by 2019

AAP MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj, who had hacked a duplicate EVM on the floor of Delhi Assembly, told reporters that it was no longer if EVMs could be manipulated, but whether the recent polls could have been rigged.

During Friday's meeting, the EC welcomed the VVPAT move by the government.

The Election Commission on Friday assured all political parties that EVMs were secured and could not be tampered with.

According to sources, the Election Commission said it would receive updated VVPATs in the time period stretching from August 2017 to September 2018. From last two months the ruling political party of Delhi "AAP" is raising his voice against EVM machine of Election Commission OF India.

"So far there have been 37 cases in various courts regarding EVM tampering".

Senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh also joined the chorus by saying, "The EC must have total transparency on the issue of hacking/cheating in EVMs".

In its communication to the presidents of all the seven national and 48 state political parties, the Commission sent a status paper on EVMs and VVPAT.

While the commission has put to rest the rumours of Hackathon, it is likely to open its doors to techies from various parties to prove how the EVMs were allegedly tampered with in the recent elections.

The proposal involves getting 16,15,000 VVPAT units for EVMs at a cost of around Rs 3,173.47 crore for use in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. A detailed presentation on electronic voting machines' security features will be made by the EC top brass to prove that the machines are tamper-proof - a fear raised by the opposition parties.

Sixteen opposition parties had recently told the Commission that it should revert to the paper ballot system claiming that the faith of the people has "eroded" in the machines. The meeting comes in the wake of doubts repeatedly raised by many political parties on functioning of the EVMs once results of Assembly polls in five states - Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab and Manipur were declared on 11 March. Several parties, including AAP, BSP and Congress had blamed tampered machines for the victory of BJP in the recently-held assembly polls.

The Election Commission earlier in the day convened an all-party meeting over the issue of EVM and other electoral reforms. While senior Congress leader P Chidambaram claimed that nearly every political party has protested against the use of EVMs, senior advocate Kapil Sibal said Congress will also intervene in the matter saying "every technology can be hacked" and this was a cause of serious concern.

Among other things, the EC would also discuss disqualifying candidates named in a charge sheet for bribing voters, making electoral graft a non-bailable offense and easing of rules to order counting of votes through the paper trail.

  • Zachary Reyes