The Congress party’s allegations that electronic voting machines might have been tampered using Bluetooth during Assembly elections in Gujarat on Saturday are baseless, the Election Commission said.
The device that the complainant’s mobile phone detected on Bluetooth was not a voting machine but another mobile phone carried by a polling booth official, Gujarat Chief Electoral Officer BB Swain was quoted as saying by PTI.
Voting took place on Saturday in 89 constituencies out of 182 in Gujarat. Media reports said 70 Electronic Voting Machines had malfunctioned in Surat, while 33 machines reported technical errors in Rajkot. The second phase of the elections is scheduled to be held on December 14.
Congress leader Arjun Modhwalia had alleged that mobile phones were detecting some external devices connected to the EVMs at three polling booths in Porbandar, the constituency where he was a candidate. “The chips fitted in EVMs appear to be programmable using Bluetooth, and this raises the possibility of tampering. The voting system should be immune to such connectivity to external devices,” he had said.
However, the name of the Bluetooth device, “ECO 105”, was that of the Intex phone model, Swain said and added that Modhwalia might have thought that “EC” stands for Election Commission.
An inquiry was ordered into Modhwalia’s allegation, after which election officials investigated the complaint in front of him, and the district election officer submitted a report.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party dismissed the allegations. “Congress is searching for an excuse even before the results are out, as it stares at a loss in the elections,” spokesperson Sambit Patra said.