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EC to hold EVM challenge

Last Modified Saturday, 3 June 2017 (11:49 IST)
New Delhi: In the wake of complaints made by political parties on the alleged possibility of "tampering and hacking" of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), the will be holding an 'EVM challenge' today, while a parallel is being thrown by on the same day. The NCP and CPI(M) will be the only two parties, which will participate in the Election Commission's EVM Challenge.

The Election Commission on May 20, had thrown an open challenge to all the recognised national and state parties to "demonstrate" and have a try at the same at various sessions, beginning June 3. "The EVM challenge will be confined to all national and state recognised political parties, who contested the Assembly elections in five States recently. 'The EC invites nominees of such parties to demonstrate their claims at the Commission headquarters within a framework of the administrative and security protocols prescribed by the Commission," Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi said, while announcing the EVM challenge.
 
The "challenges" will be two-fold, he said, adding that under the first, the "claimants will have to alter the results in the control units used during these polls" and secondly, the claimants will have to alter the results in the EVMs used during the recently-held Assembly polls. The eight political parties had sent response to poll panel, only two parties--NCP and CPI (M) had expressed interest to participate in the 'EVM challenge,' which will be held between 1000 hrs and 1400 hrs here at the poll panel headquarters today, in two separate halls, simultaneously. Both the parties have nominated three representatives each for participating in the challenge. The AAP and raised some issue, but as per the existing framework of challenge, have not expressed their interest in participating in the challenge.

While CPI, BJP and RLD expressed their interest to observe the challenge, an EC official said. On May 31, the CPI-M had said its acceptance of "challenge" from the Election Commission on EVM tampering and hacking is not aimed at demonstrating that the Electronic Voting Machines can be tampered with or hacked, but is only aimed at suggesting improvements. "We have never said that there can be hacking," CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury had told a press conference here.
 
He said the CPI-M nominees would go the Election Commission as announced by the poll panel and instead "suggest all the necessary precautions" the poll panel needs to take to prove that Indian election system from the technological point of view is foolproof. A parallel EVM challenge has been called by the AAP today. The AAP on June 1 said its technical group has decided to hold a similar challenge with its 'tampered' machine on the same day.

The Election Commission had rejected the AAP's demand for allowing the 'change or tampering' of the mother-board of Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) during the 'EVM challenge' on June 3. "The technical experts group of AAP has decided to organise an EVM challenge today with its tampered machine, which was used for demonstration in the House of the Delhi Assembly last month," AAP Spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj told reporters here. The Greater Kailash MLA, who had demonstrated in the Assembly how EVM could be tampered with, said "EC has only called political parties in its EVM challenge, but we are inviting technical experts from all sections, including from poll panel in the programme." Mr Bharadwaj has also challenged the poll panel to break into their 'tampered' machine.
 
Earlier, the EC in its reply to the AAP's letter had said that allowing any change of the 'motherboard' or any internal circuit of the EVM would be like manufacturing a new machine and introduce the newly-made EVMs in the EC system, which is 'implausible and irrational'. Countering the poll panel's reply, the AAP had asked why it was running away from organising a 'no-holds-barred hackathon.'

Then, Election Commission had clarified to the AAP that the June 3 EVM challenge would not be a 'Hackathon' and said, "no 'promise' about a 'no-holds barred Hackathon' was ever made or announced by it." Political parties -- especially Mayawati-led BSP and Arvind Kejriwal's AAP had "contested and claimed" that the EVMs held under the ownership of EC and used in the recent elections in UP, Punjab, Goa, Manipur and Uttarakhand in February-March 2017 polls, were "tampered.' (UNI)
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