Three days after a US-based man arranged an ‘EVM hackathon’ to prove that the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) can be hacked, Chief Election Commissioner of India Sunil Arora on Thursday hit back saying that there was no going back to the era of ballot papers. He stressed that EVMs will be used for the upcoming elections.
“No way that we are going back to ballot papers. We are sticking with EVMs for the elections,” the CEC said at an event in Delhi.
Reiterating the Election Commission’s stand that EVMs cannot be tampered with, Arora said the electronic voting machines are being used for over two decades in India during elections.
“EVM, not a football, can’t tamper with them,” he said.
“We will continue to use EVMs and 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 an era of ballot papers,” CEC added.
He further said that the Election Commission will never tolerate any discrepancies in the electoral process.
The Election Commission of India had earlier written to the Delhi Police, requesting it to lodge an FIR and investigate the claims made by Syed Shuja during an event organized in London.
Soon after Shuja made claims, the ECI vehemently denied any possibility of tampering with the EVMs.
Rubbishing his claims, a senior EC official had said on Monday evening, “ECI firmly stands by the empirical facts about the foolproof nature of the ECI EVMs deployed in elections in India. Whereas ECI has been wary of becoming a party to this motivated slugfest, ECI maintains that its EVMs are foolproof.”
The poll body said it was examining legal action against those trying to engage EC into “this motivated slugfest” adding that the EVMs were manufactured at the Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and the Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) under very strict supervisory and security conditions.
Addressing a press conference via video conference, Shuja made several explosive allegations regarding EVM tampering during 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Shuja had claimed that the BJP won 280-plus seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections as the EVMs were rigged in its favour. In a startling claim, he alleged that senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde, who died in a car crash on June 3 2014, a few days after joining Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet, was killed because he had learnt about the manipulation and was about to “expose” the EVM rigging.