NEW DELHI: Opposition parties on Tuesday aggressively brought back the old debate about the possibility of EVM tampering and the need to tally results with VVPAT slips, even as several videos of alleged mishandling and transportation of EVMs surfaced online.
The developments prompted former President Pranab Mukherjee and former CEC S Y Qureshi to nudge the EC to address the concerns about EVMs and put speculations to rest once and for all. The former President said the onus of ensuring the institutional integrity lies with the EC.
Mukherjee also said that since the “people’s mandate is sacrosanct”, it has to be above any iota of reasonable doubt. “A firm believer in our institutions, it is my considered opinion that it is the ‘workmen’ who decide how the institutional ‘tools’ perform,” he added.
Former CEC S Y Qureshi also wondered why the poll body wasn’t clarifying the facts about the ongoing controversy over the movement of EVMs in some parts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
“Why is EC not clarifying what the facts are? Speed is extremely important,” he tweeted. Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi said that after requesting the EC for many months, the poll body has finally said it will meet on Wednesday to discuss the issue.
“We told the EC the VVPAT machines should be counted first and if there is any discrepancy, all in that segment should be counted,” said Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad after meeting EC officials.
However, the EC dismissed allegations of EVM tampering as “frivolous” and “unfounded”.
It said the voting machines used for the seven-phase polls that began on April 11 and ended on May 19 are “absolutely safe” in strong rooms. It also rubbished reports claiming that new EVMs were being switched with those used in elections terming them “absolutely false and factually incorrect”.
It said the visuals available on TV and social media “do not pertain to any EVMs used during the polls”.
No need to move unused EVMs: Rawat, Former CEC
OP Rawat on Tuesday questioned transportation of unused EVMs in bulk. He told TNIE that reserve EVMs are always kept in warehouses or strong rooms.
“Actually, there should not be any transportation of reserve EVMs,” he said.