MPs demand EVM tampering issue be looked into

The Economic Times, August 26, 2010

In the backdrop of the arrest of a man who raised doubts about EVMs, several MPs today said the issue of alleged tampering of the voting machines should be looked into thoroughly and an all-party meeting be called to discuss the issue.

BJP has maintained that EVMs used in India were not tamper-proof and a paper back-up should be used during elections. The party’s top brass, including L K Advani and Nitin Gadkari, have expressed doubts about the authenticity of these machines.

“A computer readjustment of the programme (in an EVM) and we will be sitting in the opposition forever,” BJP MP Maneka Gandhi said. She mentioned the case in Florida, USA, in which EVMs were reportedly tampered.

She said an all-party meeting should be called and opinion of experts sought on the issue.

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and Union Minister Farooq Abdullah said during his tenure as CM, the EVMs were introduced for the first time and questions were raised then on whether these machines were “foolproof”.

“I think they should probe first. You have to be very clear that the machines are foolproof….it should be free of doubt,” Abdullah said.

Asked if he felt this calls for an all-party meeting on the issue, Abdullah answered in the affirmative.

Trinamool Congress Chief Whip in Lok Sabha Sudip Bandopadhyaya said EVMs made the voting pattern quicker but at the same time these should be above any doubts.

“We have not taken any decision (on EVMs). We had our allegations once, no doubt. But now we have done well (electorally),” Bandopadhyaya said.

Hari Prasad, technical coordinator of VeTA (Citizens for Verifiability, Transparency and Accountability in Elections), who claimed that electronic voting machines could be tampered with, was arrested from Hyderabad on Saturday last in connection with the theft of an EMV.

The Election Commission has termed as “patently false” the allegation that Prasad was arrested at its behest.

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