New Delhi: Amid the ongoing controversy over the sensational claim made by a self-proclaimed cyber expert that the EVMs can be hacked and the 2014 Lok Sabha polls were rigged, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora on Wednesday made it clear that the Commission had no plans to return to ballot papers. Also Read - Bihar Assembly Election 2020 Dates Announced, EC Issues Protocol For Polls Amid COVID-19 | Check Full Schedule Here
“I would like to make it very clear that we are not going back to the era of ballot papers,” he said. Also Read - By-Elections 2019: Polling For 64 Seats on October 21, Results on October 24 — Complete Schedule Here
Arora slammed those questioning the credibility of the Electronic Voting Machines and said that they claim the EVMs to be faulty only when the poll results are not as per their choice. Also Read - 'We Want Paper Ballot',TMC MPs Protest Against EVMs Outside Parliament
“We will continue to use EVMs and VVPATs. We are open to any criticism and feedback from any stakeholder including political parties. At the same time, we are not going to be intimidated, bullied or coerced into giving up these and start era of ballot papers,” he said.
Arora’s remarks came after the Election Commission on Tuesday filed a complaint against the Indian cyber expert, identified as Syed Shuja, asking the police to “investigate promptly” the statement made by him on Monday at an event in London that the EVMs can be tampered with and that the 2014 Lok Sabha elections were rigged.
The action by the election panel came a day after it vehemently denied the allegations made by the cyber expert, saying that it firmly stood by “empirical facts about the foolproof nature” of EVMs.
The commission reiterated that the EVMs used by it were manufactured by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) under “very strict” supervisory and security conditions.
On its part, ECIL also negated Shuja’s claims and said he was not in its employment during 2009-2014, the period he claimed to be a part of the team that was responsible for EVMs during the 2014 elections.
On Monday, Shuja, addressing a press conference in London via Skype, had alleged that EVMs were hacked during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and claimed Munde was “killed” because he was aware of the EVM hacking.
Munde died in a road accident in New Delhi weeks after the BJP won the 2014 elections.
Several opposition parties, including the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) questioned the authenticity of the EVMs and demanded inquiry over the claims made by Shuja.
On the other hand, targeted by the BJP over Kapil Sibal’s presence at the press conference in London, the Congress distanced itself from the event saying it had nothing to do with the hackathon, that it “does not know any of these principal actors and it has no role to play.”