Amid allegations that electronic voting machines (EVMs) were tampered in 2014 General Election, Chief Election Commissioner of India Sunil Arora Thursday said that there was no question of going back to the ballot era and the Election Commission (EC) will not be intimidated, bullied or coerced into giving up EVMs.
“I would like to make it very clear that we are not going back to the era of ballot papers. We will continue to use EVMs & VVPATs. We are open to any criticism and feedback from any stakeholder including political parties. At the same time, we are not going to be intimidated, bullied or coerced into giving up these and start era of ballot papers,” news agency ANI quoted Arora as saying.
Senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad Tuesday called the allegations of tampering electronic voting machines (EVMs) in 2014 Lok Sabha polls a “political stunt” and a “Congress-sponsored conspiracy” to “defame” India. Prasad pinned the allegation on Congress and said the party has already started looking for an “alibi” ahead of its “certain defeat” in the Lok Sabha polls.
Congress leader Anand Sharma, however, refuted BJP’s allegations and said the EC should check at least 50 per cent of voter-verifiable paper audit trails (VVPAT) to assuage apprehensions of opposition parties on EVMs.
“The latest revelations have made the doubts on the EVMs more serious. It is better under such conditions that the future elections, especially the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, be conducted using ballot papers which can be verified at three levels unlike the EVMs,” BSP chief said in a statement.
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu too echoed Mayawati’s views.
On Monday, a US-based self-proclaimed ‘cyber expert’ from India, Syed Shuja, claimed that 2014 Lok Sabha polls were “rigged” and that EVMs can be hacked.