Hundreds of Aam Aadmi Party workers on Thursday demonstrated outside the Election Commission headquarters in Delhi and made three demands to the poll monitoring body. They asked the commission to give them Electronic Voting Machines so that they can demonstarte how they can be tampered with. “If the EC claims that its machines cannot be tampered with, then, we demand them to give us their machines and we will show them by hacking it,” Labour Minister and AAP’s Delhi unit convener Gopal Rai told ANI.
They also asked the Election Commission to use EVMs equipped with voter-verifiable paper audit trail in all future elections and to tally the votes and slips of 25% of randomly chosen booths. One of the protesters added that they also want the commission to recall the previous elections as those were won by rigging the EVM, reported ANI.
Former Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti, who led the protestors, claimed that rigged EVMs are the biggest scam of independent India. “The Election Commission is duty bound to conduct free and fair elections,” he told India Today.
The AAP workers claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party won recent polls by rigging EVMs, and cited how Saurabh Bharadwaj had “demonstrated” the tampering of a lookalike EVM at the Delhi Assembly on Tuesday. “This is how BJP won polls in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand,” party worker Pragati told PTI. “Even the division along caste lines could not have helped them with such a huge victory.”
The AAP’s demonstration comes a day before the Election Commission has called an all-party meeting to discuss the EVM controversy. On Tuesday, Bharadwaj had conducted a live demonstration where he had attempted to show that EVMs could be easily rigged. Using an EVM prototype, he had claimed that any EVM’s motherboard could be replaced in 90 seconds.
The Election Commission, however, had said that any voting machine besides their own can be made to seem as though they have been tampered with. The EC rejected the AAP’s “demonstration” and said any “‘lookalike’ machine is just a different gadget, which is manifestly designed and made to function in a ‘tampered’ manner and has no relevance, incidence or bearing on the commission’s EVMs”.
The whole EVMs controversy had come up recently, first when the BJP won elections in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand by a large majority, and then the Delhi civic polls. However, several national leaders, including former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, have criticised the AAP for insisting that EVMs were rigged to help the BJP win elections.