A day before the all-party meeting called by the Election Commission, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Thursday threw a fresh challenge before the poll panel and said that given a chance it could prove how voting machines used in the assembly polls were pre-programmed to favour a particular party. AAP lawmaker Saurabh Bharadwaj urged the Election Commission to form a panel of representatives of all political parties and experts from the poll panel to examine Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).
“We will demonstrate and prove before the panel how EVMs can be tampered with the help of its ROM (read only memory),” Bharadwaj told the media.
He said the AAP would urge the Election Commission in an all-party meeting on Friday to form the panel. He said he could find out from an EVM ROM which party a particular voter had polled for and the sequence in which votes were cast. Bharadwaj explained that the proposed panel may randomly pick five booths where they suspect rigging had taken place. One voter from each of those booths could be cross-examined by a judicial magistrate in an in-camera proceeding and asked which party did he or she vote for.
“We can find by reading the ROM of that EVM where the voter’s vote went and if his or her statement is corroborated by the EVM then no rigging has taken place. If not, then it proves our point (that voting machines were being tampered with),” Bharadwaj said.
The AAP’s new challenge came two days after Bharadwaj, an IT engineer, on Tuesday demonstrated in Delhi Assembly by using a lookalike machine how EVMs could be manipulated by tampering with its code and changing its motherboard.
“The EC used to say that an EVM is a stand-alone machine and not connected to any network so it can’t be tampered, but we tampered with a replica of EVM in Delhi Assembly on Tuesday by a secret code,” he said.
The AAP leader said their doubts about the EVM gained ground when during municipal polls in Maharashtra a candidate claimed that he did not even get his own vote that he had polled for himself. He also recalled how a demo in Bhind in Madhya Pradesh “proved” votes were going to the BJP irrespective of any EVM button pressed.
“This raised our doubts about EVM tampering,” he said, adding it was surprising to know that the BJP was winning almost all elections after the November demonetisation though no one was happy in the country with the move of recalling Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes.
“If the Election Commission wants, we can find the truth behind EVM tampering. The AAP will do whatever it takes to save democracy. If the truth behind the doubts cast over the credibility of EVMs isn’t revealed then the country will slip into dictatorship which is very dangerous for any democratic republic,” the AAP leader said.