India Poll Panel Defends Voting Machines After 'Hacking' Demonstration By Party

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During a day-long special sitting of the Delhi assembly yesterday, AAP MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj put on a "live demonstration" of how EVMs can be programmed to favour any political party.

Dr. Nasim Zaidi urged the political parties to ensure their continuous and qualitative participation at all crucial preparatory steps for elections like FLC, Randomization of EVM/VVPAT/Polling personnel, EVM Preparation/candidate setting, Mock Poll, EVM Sealing etc. CEC also stressed that continuous involvement is the shared responsibility of all the stakeholders including the political parties.

The meeting came at a time after the Aam Aadmi Party proved in the Delhi Assembly that the machines could be tampered recently. The Bhartiya Janata Party won 312 seats out of 403 in Uttar Pradesh Election.

Disqualifying candidates named in a charge sheet for bribing voters, making electoral graft a non-bailable offence and easing of rules to order counting of votes through paper trail are some of the other issues Election Commission will discuss with political parties tomorrow.

These opposition parties had also conveyed their concerns on the EVMs to President Pranab Mukherjee. "It cannot be constantly said that EVMs can't be tampered", AAP leader Manish Sisodia said.

The AAP has been vocal in alleging that EVMs were tampered with in the assembly elections in Punjab and the civic polls in Delhi, both of which it lost. "We are not questioning the IAS, IPS or paramilitary forces who guard the EVMs, but the engineers who go in to service these machines", said Bhardwaj.

Meanwhile, PTI reported that the EC rejected the claim saying the machine hacked in the Delhi assembly was a "look-alike" gadget and not the actual equipment used by it.

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The Election Commission today is convening an all-party meeting over the issue of EVM and other electoral reforms in the national capital.

The BJP on Tuesday apprised the Election Commission of irregularities in the donation records of AAP and demanded the Delhi's ruling party be "derecognised". "In this context it should be understood that it is possible for anyone to make any electronic gadget which looks like ECI's EVMs and demonstrate any magic or tampering", the Commission said in a statement.

He said EVMs do not enjoy their trust any more.

"We were shocked that the AAP lied not only to the Income Tax department but also to the Election Commission". "We are not in favor of EVM that is what we are asking the introduction of ballot papers", Roy said.

Asked about his party's stand on the use of VVPAT, Maken said: "Our stand is clear on VVPAT".

From all India Trinamool Congress's perspective, Mukul Roy demanded reintroduction of paper ballot system. "So, every election from now on has to have VVPATs", Karat told IANS. "The commission has proposed that there should be a specific section enabling the commission to take appropriate action, including countermanding of elections", EC agenda note says.

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