New Delhi: In the wake of opposition concerns over the reliability of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), the Election Commission will be holding a live demonstration of EVMs and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail System (VVPATs) on Saturday. The live demonstration of the functioning of the EVMs and VVPATs will be followed by a press conference, the EC had announced yesterday.
On May 12, the poll panel had said it would offer an opportunity to the political parties to prove that EVMs used in the recently-held assembly polls were tampered with or can be tampered even with laid down safeguards. In its communication to the presidents of all the seven national and 48 state political parties, the poll panel sent a status paper on EVMs and VVPATs. It had also said that all future elections will be held using VVPAT, which allows a voter to verify if his vote has been rightly recorded by the EVM. Soon after Assembly election results were declared, 16 opposition parties had requested the poll panel to revert to the paper ballot system saying that the alleged tampering has created trust deficit in the credibility of the EVMs. However, the poll body maintained that EVMs are tamper-proof and cannot be manipulated by anyone.
A few days back, Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party in its special session of Delhi Assembly conducted a live demonstration on how EVMs can be tampered with. AAP leader Saurabh Bhardwaj, who is a computer engineer by profession, demonstrated how Electronic Voting Machine’s mother chip can be tampered with, on a dummy machine. Bhardwaj had reset the EVM dummy in the Assembly and demonstrated how the very same machine which passed the mock test, was being manipulated during actual polling day. Giving an open challenge to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Bhardwaj had dared, “Give us the EVMs which will be used in Gujarat polls for three hours, you won’t win a single booth. There is no machine in the world that is tamper proof.”
However, the Election Commission said the machine used to conduct live demonstration was a ‘look-alike” which was made to function in a ‘tampered’ manner. Earlier in 2009, a similar challenge was given by EC to the political parties and it had proved that no one was able to tamper with its machines. Then 100 EVMs from various parts of the country were brought to Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi for the challenge.
(With inputs from agencies)