New Delhi, May 22: The Rajya Sabha elections for 10 seats in Goa, West Bengal and Gujarat which was initially scheduled for June 9 has been deferred by the Election Commission of India (ECI). While they have cited the shortage of officials as the primary reason, as most of them might be busy with the Presidential polls also scheduled around the same time, but a few reports are of the opinion that the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) hack challenge might also be one of the reason for the delay.

The report of the postponement of the Rajya Sabha polls was announced via an official statement which withdrew the initial notice about the June 9 polls. The Election Commission is of the opinion that since the Presidential elections might coincide with the schedule of the biennial elections, and most of the staff will be occupied with the Presidential polls, there might be shortage of them and hence the decision was taken.

As per ANI, the Election Commission said, “The Presidential elections may coincide with the schedule of aforesaid biennial elections as announced and in view of the fact the Secretaries of Legislative Assemblies are notified as Returning Officer for biennial elections to council of states and they are also to be appointed as Assistant Returning Officers for Presidential elections 2017,”

The polling body also said that the the preparatory work for election of a new President may be interfered by the process of the Rajya Sabha election.

The 10 seats which will be empty after the expiration of terms of the seven members are six from West Bengal, one from Goa and three from Gujarat. Among others, those members whose terms come to an end in the next few months hence necessitating the Rajya Sabha polls in the three states include Shantaram Naik from Goa; Ahmed Patel and Smriti Irani from Gujarat; and Sitaram Yechury, Derek O’Brien and Sukhendu Shekhar Roy from West Bengal.

And the there is the Hackathon. An event organised to challenge the claims of many political parties that Electronic Voting machines can be hacked and tampered. The Commission invited the political parties to prove this claim before the Commission. While the political parties have accepted the challenge, the EC is quite confident that the EVM are tamper-proof. This event will also require large scale man power hence many staff will be occupied in this as well.

According to ANI, the panel said that this postponement will divert the attention of some of the parties who may like to participate in the challenge.

(With inputs from agencies)