The Congress today urged the Election Commission to review its stand on EVMs and try alternatives suggested to it to put to rest concerns raised by political parties that voting machines can be tampered with. Senior Congress spokesperson P Chidambaram said all political parties including the BJP have at some point of time raised serious doubts on impenetrability of EVMs and his party has suggested various alternatives which the poll body should emulate.
“All political parties at some time or the other have serious doubts over the EVMs. Then you should look for alternative. The alternative does not exclude an EVM. It says EVMs plus VVPAT or EVM plus ballot. We are proposing several alternatives. “I think the Election Commission should not reject it out of hand but must have the humility to accept the case of the political parties and re-examine its position,” he said.
Chidambaram said as per the memorandum submitted by Opposition parties there is overwhelming evidence that EVMs can be tampered with and they are vulnerable to being manipulated. “Therefore, we should go back to the tested and tried ballot paper system and we have also proposed an alternative that you can have EVMs along with VVPAT and we have proposed a second alternative,” he said.
The senior Congress leader said if it is not possible to acquire so many VVPAT machines in a short time, then one could try EVMs in 50 per cent booths and ballot paper in the rest 50 per cent booths. “We are suggesting various methods by which this wide spread suspicion, widespread apprehension where EVMs can be tampered with and EVMs may have been tampered with here and there, is put to rest,” he said.
He also lamented EC’s insistence on a clean chit which he termed as “Institutional Certitude” and said no institution should be so certain. “Institutional Certitude is a weakness of every Institution. We must be willing to re-examine the position,” he said, adding that there is enough evidence that EVMs can be technologically hacked or tampered with and even the Pentagon was hacked.
“Therefore, it is the duty of the Election Commission to put to rest these apprehensions,” he said. Chidambaram said our democratic system is a political party based democratic system and without a political party, we do not have this kind of multi party based democratic system. “Theoretically every party including the BJP of 2014 vintage, as exemplified by GVL Narasimha’s Rao’s book doubts the impenetrability of the EVM. They have cast doubts on EVM.
“All political parties at some time or the other have serious doubts over the EVMs. Then you should look for alternative,” he said. The former Finance Minister said the alternative does not exclude an EVM and suggestions have been made for use of EVMs plus VVPAT or EVM plus ballot. “We are proposing several alternatives,” he said.