Amid allegations of EVM swapping ahead of the counting of votes, former Chief Election Commissioner O P Rawat on Wednesday came out in defence of the voter machines, asserting that they cannot be tampered with.
“EVM security protocol is so strict whenever a strong room has to be opened, representatives of all political parties have to be there, machines are taken out in their presence, mock poll is also conducted,” Rawat told news agency ANI.
“When making EVM ready for the polling, a mock poll is again conducted at polling station where all the polling agents are asked to vote and then count, so all these arrangements ensure that EVMs can’t be tampered with,” he further said.
Allegations on EVM swapping surfaced after a video of EVMs being allegedly transported in Chandauli constituency in Uttar Pradesh was shared on social media.
Rejecting the charge, the Election Commission, in a statement said, “Reserved and unused EVMs and VVPATs were being sent to decided strongroom after informing the candidates of all parties. Representatives of one party opposed this and demanded that those EVMS and VVPATs be transferred to the Collectorate office. We then sent the machines to Collectorate office and representatives of all parties were satisfied.”
The Commission statement came as the Uttar Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer L Venkateshwarlu dismissed allegations of suspicious EVMs near strongrooms in Domariyaganj, Ghazipur, Chandauli and Jhansi Lok Sabha constituencies, saying the EVMs used in the polls and the VVPATs were sealed properly in the presence of representatives of all candidates, and the entire process videographed.
Earlier today, the EC rejected a demand by 22 Opposition parties asking that VVPAT slips be counted before EVMs in polling stations where applicable. The BJP called the Opposition move a desperate attempt in the face of certain defeat.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines