NEW DELHI: The Congress today demanded that a sitting or retired Supreme Court judge of "very high integrity" supervise the functioning of all electronic voting machines (EVMs) to ensure free and fair elections in Gujarat.
Latching on to media reports that during the Uttar Pradesh civic polls at several places, the vote went to the BJP no matter which button was pressed, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said only an independent review of EVMs can ensure fair conduct of elections in Gujarat.
He said the "absence" of the voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) in all polling stations in UP was a matter of serious concern and demanded the Election Commission order re-polling there.
The VVPAT carries a paper trail left by a voter after he or she has exercised their franchise. It is a mechanism for providing feedback to voters using a ballot-less voting system.
The trail is available to be seen for seven seconds from the transparent surface above, before it falls into a storage box with a beep. In the trail, a voter can see the name of the candidate and the poll symbol chosen by him or her.
Singhvi said the use of VVPAT is not enough to ensure free and fair poll if the EVM is "rigged".
"A pilot project can involve an independent supervision, verification of all EVMs in one state at least. There (Gujarat) it is not logistic impossibility nor a logistical nightmare ... the only thing I can think of is a sitting or retired Supreme Court judge of very high integrity," he said.
"Reports of EVM tampering have come in the media from various places. We demand that the Election Commission look into the matter and order re-polling so that the faith in democracy is maintained," he said.
Singhvi asserted the Congress never said it wanted ballot papers to return.
"And if there is 100 per cent VVPAT, you will have to ensure that 100 per cent EVMs are alright. Ballot papers will be required if you are not able to ensure that," the Congress leader said.