EC has no favourites, we maintain equidistance from all parties: CEC Nasim Zaidi at all-party meethttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/election-commission-evm-hacking-nasim-zaidi-vvpat-aap-4652804/

EC has no favourites, we maintain equidistance from all parties: CEC Nasim Zaidi at all-party meet

AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal, after losing state legislative polls in Punjab had earlier alleged that the EVMs used during the elections were tampered.

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Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi (File Photo)

At the all-party meeting convened by the Election Commission on Friday to look into the EVM tampering controversy, Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi said the poll watchdog has no favourites. In his opening remarks at the meeting, Zaidi said, “Election Commission to offer political parties chance to prove that EVMs used in recent polls were tampered with,” adding that EC maintains equidistance from all parties. He further said that all future elections will be held on VVPAT.

The all-party meeting was convened to discuss reliability of EVMs that witnessed a debate over the definition of ‘hacking’. The poll watchdog said in the meeting it received funds for Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) from the government and it will be implemented by 2019.

Seven national and 35 out of the 48 state-recognised parties attended the meeting today. Leaders of parties such as the CPI, RJD and RLD raised related as well as other aspects of the electoral process like corporate funding among other issues. CPI national secretary Atul Anjan raised the issue of ethos and integrity at the meeting when he said: “The whole issue is about the ethos and integrity of the election process. Why are advanced countries in the west not using EVMs?”

The day-long meeting was expected to seek views of political parties on the proposed challenge it plans to throw to hack its EVMs. The date of the proposed challenge would be decided after the all-party meeting. The poll watchdog’s top brass is expected to make a in-depth presentation on EVMs’ security features to prove that the machines are tamper-proof. A few days before the meeting, the Aam Aadmi Party had staged a demonstration on hacking voting machine’ in the Delhi Assembly. The party had used an EVM prototype to make the demonstration.

While trashing AAP’s claim, the EC said the ‘machine is a look-alike and not the ECI-EVM’.