Pitching for reverting to the ballot paper system, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu Tuesday claimed hackers had “proved” that electronic voting machines (EVMs) could be tampered. Naidu, the president of the Telugu Desam Party, said the EVMs were turning out to be a “big threat” to democracy and advised his party rank and file to be alert in view of the claims by “hackers”.
In a teleconference with his party leaders, he demanded that the Election Commission seek opinion of all political parties and revert to the paper ballot system immediately. His comments come a day after a self-proclaimed Indian cyber expert claimed in London that the EVMs could be hacked and that the 2014 parliamentary election was “rigged”. Reacting to the claim, the EC asserted it firmly stood by “empirical facts about foolproof nature” of its machines and said it was examining as to what legal action “can and should” be taken in the matter.
Naidu said leaders of 22 parties would meet the Election Commission soon to discuss the EVMs and the voter verifiable paper audit trails (VVPAT) system. “It is worrying to know the claims made on the possibility of tampering the EVMs. It is a big threat to democracy and, hence, we need to revert to the paper ballot system immediately,” Naidu said. “We are already discussing the issue at the national level. VVPATs are not being used in 100 per cent constituencies. It was only because of the TDP’s fight that VVPATs are being used,” he claimed.
However, the print impression on the VVPAT slips was very light and getting erased immediately, leading to doubts, he said. There should not be any doubt in the voter’s mind for whom his vote was cast and there was no place for doubts in a democracy, he added.
Claiming that the TDP encouraged technology, the chief minister noted that there was a danger of technology being misused. “EVMs are not being used in 120 countries. Only 20 countries in the world are using them. We have to be alert with EVMs,” he said.