The Election Commission of India will link all electronic voting machines with voter-verified paper audit trail machines to be used in the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections later this year, PTI reported on Thursday. Officials said the 30,000 new machines are expected to arrive by July.
On Wednesday, the Union Cabinet had approved a proposal to buy the VVPAT machines. A formal announcement will be made when the election schedule is released, officials told PTI. “We have 53,500 VVPAT machines. In the next three months, we will get 30,000 new machines. Nearly 84,000 units are sufficient for use in all polling stations in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh,” a commission official said.
The Gujarat Assembly’s term ends by January 2, 2018, while the Himachal Pradesh Assembly’s term is up by January 7. The VVPAT machines help voters confirm their votes for particular candidates. EVMs and the voter-verified paper audit trail machines are manufactured by the Electronics Corporation of India Limited and the Bharat Electronics Limited.
Opposition parties have been complaining that the EVMs currently in use are rigged in favour of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. Though the Election Commission has vehemently and repeatedly denied this, everyone from the Congress to the Aam Aadmi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party has insisted that the machines were manipulated in the last set of Assembly elections.