New Delhi, Aug 9: The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Wednesday hit out at the political parties that have questioned the reliability of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) saying that the parties who did not turn up in the EVM challenge should stop crying foul, as per a report by India Today. The EC also said that its ‘EVM Challenge’ did not have any taker among the political parties.

In an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court, the EC said that it had invited all the political parties to prove that EVMs can be tampered with, as claimed by them, but no one had turned up in the EVM challenge. A Bench, led by Chief Justice of India JS Khehar, had been hearing complaints filed by the Congress parties and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) regarding the working of the voting machines and if the machines can be tampered with.

The poll panel said that after the commotion that was created by the political parties, an EVM challenge was organised by the Election Commission, which turned out a damp squib as no political party, except the NCP and the CPI(M), turned up for the challenge. The NCP and CPI(M) had not challenged the functionality of the EVMs but just wanted to understand the procedure, according to the Hindu report.

“Thus, no political party or person was able to demonstrate how the EVMs could be tampered with during the course of the challenge. Subsequently, the Election Commission issued a press note wherein it reiterated its commitment to holding all future elections with VVPATs,” it said.

The Election Commission also said that it is “committed to implementing Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail machines (VVPATs) nationwide by 2019.”

“If the said consignment of VVPATs is delivered on time (September), the Election Commission expects to be able to conduct the elections to the Gujarat legislative Assembly completely with the use of VVPATs,” the affidavit filed by the EC said.

After the EVM challenge, Nasim Zaidi had ruled out EVM tampering saying that there is no Trojan horse that can tamper with their EVMs. “Results cannot be altered by activating a Trojan Horse through a sequence of key presses,” said Nasim Zaidi. “ECI is confident and has firm conviction about the integrity, non-tamperability and credibility of the EVMs. ECI-EVMs are not hackable; are stand-alone machines; not connected to internet or any network at any point of time during polling,” Zaidi added.

After a loss in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections in March 2017, Mayawati-led BSP had alleged that large scale tampering of EVMs resulting in it favouring the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Echoing the same allegations, Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had also alleged that EVMs were tampered with to favour a particular political party in Goa and Punjab Assembly Elections. Both the parties had demanded an immediate introduction of a paper trail with every EVM.