EC has no favourites, and we are equidistant from all parties: CEC Nasim Zaidi

Election Commission to hold EVM challenge with machines used in the recent assembly polls.

Published: 12th May 2017 06:13 PM  |   Last Updated: 13th May 2017 06:51 AM   |  A+A-

Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi. | PTI File Photo

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Amid a massive political debate on whether EVMs can be rigged or not, the poll panel on Friday said it would offer political parties an opportunity to prove that Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) used in the recent Assembly polls were tampered with.

In the meeting with political parties, Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi asserted that the commission has no favourites and it maintained equal distance from all political parties while saying, “a challenge is on the cards.” “It is our constitutional and moral duty to stand dead centre of the circle drawn around us by 56 political parties (seven national and 49 state recognised parties),” Zaidi said.

Without giving any proper date to hold the challenge, the CEC said that the initiative will offer opportunity to political parties to demonstrate that EVM used in recent elections were tampered with or that EVMs can be tampered with even under strict technical and administrative safeguards as applicable during elections.
The meeting on Friday came following recent demonstration by an AAP MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj in Delhi Assembly on ‘How to Hack EVMs.’

While the AAP leaders have maintained that it is possible to hack even authorized EVMs used for the polls, the poll panel had rejected the claims of AAP saying that demonstration was done only on a look-alike machine. The AAP, which has been leading the opposition charge on this issue, claimed on Friday that its proposal of holding a hackathon has been rejected by the Commission. Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who was also in the meeting, tweeted that the EC refused to carry out a hackathon.

Leaders of other parties like the CPI, RJD and RLD raised related as well as other aspects of the electoral process like corporate funding. “The whole issue is about the integrity of the election process. Why are advanced countries not using EVMs?” CPI secretary Atul Anjan asked.
RJD spokesperson Manoj Jha said by harping on the infallibility of EVMs, the EC was acting as the custodian of just the instruments and not the process.

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