The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has announced to hold its own hackathon of EVMs or Electronic Voting Machines on the same day as the Election Commission’s all-party challenge that starts June 3. The party has maintained that EVMs can be manipulated in favour of a particular party by using certain codes, and also opted out of the EC challenge after the panel refused to provide it access to the motherboard during the challenge. The party last month also held a live demonstration of hacking of a prototype EVM in a special session of the Delhi Assembly.
“We have conveyed to the Election Commission that we will hold EVM hackathon on the day of EC’s EVM challenge,” said AAP leaders Saurab Bharadwaj, Dilip Pandey and Gopal Rai. AAP MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj at a press conference held in Delhi on Thursday. The party has asked common people, political parties, specialists and even professional hackers to participate in their hackathon. It has also invited experts from the commission to join the challenge. “We challenge the Election Commission to break into the machine at our hackathon,” Saurabh Bhardwaj said as reported by India Today.
The poll watchdog had rejected AAP’s demand to allow it to tamper the EVM’s motherboard as part of the challenge, saying any change in the internal circuit of the motherboard or replacing any component can lead to EVMs losing their originality. The AAP had complained that the rules set by the poll panel are very restrictive and that no person breaking into a machine will follow any kinds of rules and hence decided to skip the challenge on June 3.
The Election Commission had earlier invited all seven national and 49 state parties to participate for a meeting AAP allegation of tweaking of EVMs. AAP and Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) were among the loudest voices that claimed that EVMs in the recently held polls were tampered with. After the meeting, Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi had announced that the EC will henceforth use paper-audit trails in all the elections.