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EVM tampering row: Election Commission to hold challenge, says CEC Nasim Zaidi

15 Mai 2017

AAP said that during the challenge, EC should talk on-camera to voters who filed affidavit to complain about rigging of their votes after taking print of time stamp of machines in presence of political parties and magistrate at the controversial booths. The AAP, which has been leading the opposition charge on this issue, claimed that its proposal of holding a "hackathon" has been "rejected" by the Commission.

While Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said that the Commission declined to conduct the rumoured hackathon, Bhardwaj added, "The EC is nervous as they planted the word Hackathon in the media earlier and if it really happens, they would have a lot of things to hide, as the word hack is not limited to networks as said by the EC, and has a deeper meaning, which relates to the access of data (sic)".

An EC official said the challenge will not be restricted to machines used in recent assembly polls.

After the meeting, senior party leader Saurabh Bhardwaj told journalists that the Commission had shared nothing new, and that the meeting saw a debate over the definition of "hacking" instead. "The whole issue is about the ethos and integrity of the election process".

The poll panel of the Commission invited representatives of seven national parties and 48 state-level parties for the meeting at the Constitution Club in New Delhi on Friday. CPI national secretary Atul Anjan asked.

ECI officer made a detailed presentation on EVM security features.

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The date of the proposed challenge would be decided after the all-party meeting, PTI reported. He demonstrated how it could be done using what party sources said was a "prototype EVM" developed by "a group of IITians".

The AAP has now requested the Commission to either hand them the machines used in the elections to demonstrate how they could have been hacked, or trail the votes to see if they were cast in favour of the party they were intended for.

According to PTI, CEC Nasim Zaidi made this offer during an all-party meet convened by the ECI here today to discuss the reliability of the EVMs - an issue flagged by opposition parties.

Sixteen opposition parties had told the Commission that it should revert to the paper ballot system, claiming that the faith of the people has "eroded" in the machines. Its newly-elected legislator from Rajouri Garden, Manjinder Singh Sirsa, said out of the 37 cases pertaining to EVM tampering which have gone to court, in 30 the judgments have come and all of them have held the EVMs to be tamper-proof.

The Election Commission, however, assured all political parties that EVMs were secured and could not be tampered with. "In addition to the EVM/VVPAT, the agenda will also cover making bribery in elections a cognisable offence, disqualification on framing of charges for the offences of bribery in elections and suggestions in VVPAT recount Rules", it had said in a statement last week.