A delegation of Opposition parties met Election Commission officials on Monday and sought the redress of alleged tampering of electronic voting machines, PTI reported. “If votes polled to one go to another, it is against democracy,” said Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad. “The Election Commission should restore confidence in EVMs.”
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said the poll body should go back to paper ballots but due to time constraint, “we are demanding that 50% of VVPATs should be counted at random and be tallied with EVMs”, ANI reported.
On January 24, the Congress demanded that at least half of all voter-verifiable paper audit trail slips, or VVPAT slips, in every parliamentary constituency be randomly counted to verify votes. At present, 10% of VVPAT slips are randomly selected for the purpose. The demand was raised after a self-proclaimed cyber expert claimed in London that he could demonstrate that the machines could be hacked. He even claimed that the Lok Sabha elections in 2014, which the Bharatiya Janata Party won with a simple majority, were rigged.
Two days later, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora reiterated that the country would not revert to ballot papers for elections and said the Election Commission would not be “intimidated or bullied” into abandoning the use of electronic voting machines.
Opposition parties have raised doubts about the credibility of electronic voting machines a number of times in the last two years. However, the Election Commission has repeatedly denied that the machines can be tampered with.