With Congress, Left, AAP and others claiming that electronic voting machines were manipulated to favour BJP, the Election Commission on Wednesday threw a challenge to political parties, scientists and technical experts to prove that EVMs could be tampered with. The open challenge, which will be on the lines of a similar exercise undertaken in 2009, follows doubts raised by several opposition parties which met the EC and have also petitioned the President. These also include BSP, SP and RJD. The allegations have been raised in the context of BJP’s landslide win in the UP assembly elections.
EC sources told TOI that the latest challenge would see the poll panel deploying its EVMs at its headquarters for a week to 10 days and inviting all doubters to demonstrate their tamperability. The EC’s own technical expert group on EVMs will oversee the demonstration. The recent allegations have seen EC engage in a sharp exchange with AAP. Apart from asking political parties to try and establish their claims in the first week of May, the exercise is intended to reassure people that EVMs cannot be manipulated to distort the popular vote and are reliable and safe.
Though media will not be allowed to cover the demonstrations live, each demonstration will be videographed and uploaded on the EC website at the end of the day to ensure full transparency. As in 2009, the EC will not allow those challenging the accuracy of EVMs to bring their own version of EVMs. The tamperability will have to be proven with the machines specifically provided by the EC for the ‘open challenge’.