Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi on Saturday said the poll panel will give the public and political parties an “open challenge” to try and hack its Electronic Voting Machines to quell allegations of tampering. He added that they were working out the time frame for the dare, PTI reported.
A meeting of all political parties will also be called to clear the doubts raised with regard to EVM manipulation, Zaidi said. At the meeting, the Election Commission will explain how the voting machines are tamper-proof and “secured under administrative and technical safeguards”, he told reporters.
The chief election commissioner confirmed that they had place an order for Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail machines for use in future elections. Bharat Electronics and the Electronic Corporation of India will manufacture about 15 lakh VVPAT units before September 2018, he added. “According to me, India will be the only country where VVPAT machines will be utilised in every polling station, and it will boost voter confidence,” he said.
Opposition parties have been urging the poll panel to revert to using the paper ballot system for elections as claims of EVM tampering had created a “deep-seated trust deficit” on the their reliability. “It has shattered the faith of the people in the fairness of the electoral process,” the polotical parties had said.
Moreover, the Election Commission chief believes that transparency in the funding of political parties would be affected by the amendments made to the Companies Act, 2013, removing the cap on corporate contributions. “This has increased the scope of receiving and spending more funds and of course, the related impact,” he said, according to The Indian Express.
Zaidi pointed out that there are higher chances of shell companies being set up only to make donations to political parties, now that they do not have to reveal the names of those they have funded. “This means the limit of contributions to political parties from corporate houses and business houses in now unlimited,” he said.