NEW DELHI: The much-hyped Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) Challenge held on Saturday ended up being a demo exercise for the two parties—NCP and CPI (M)— as the Election Commission (EC) said that none of the parties showed interest in hacking the equipment.
Following the exercise on Saturday afternoon, Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi said this was a mutual learning exercise. He said that both the parties, the CPI (M) and the NCP didn’t participate in the challenge.
The CEC also said the NCP, however, expressed concern over alleged problems with EVMs during municipal elections in Maharashtra. “We clarified that EVMs used by state election commission, Maharashtra for urban local body elections do not belong to us,” said Nasim Zaidi. The EVMs used by state election commission, Maharashtra for urban local body elections do not belong to them, he added.
Officials said that while the CPI (M) delegation watched a demonstration on the various security checks involved with the machines, the NCP team interacted with Commission’s technical committee of experts at the EC office in New Delhi.
EC officials said that since none of the two political parties specified their choices for EVMs to be chosen from five poll gone states, the Commission brought 14 EVMs randomly in sealed condition kept in strong rooms from 12 Assembly Constituencies of Punjab, Uttrakhand and Uttar Pradesh for the challenge.
Soon after the results of the UP Assembly elections 2017 were announced, the BSP and then, AAP and Congress had raised questions over the credibility of the EVMs.
However, the NCP and the CPI (M) were the only parties which had applied to participate in the challenge. The poll panel had invited the seven national and 49 state parties recognised by it for the challenge. It had left out smaller parties and Independents who had contested the recent polls from participating.
The Commission has already stated publicly and before political parties that all future elections will be mandatorily held with Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) .