New Delhi: In the wake of a string of allegations levied on the Election Commission of India (ECI) regarding the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in March’s Assembly polls, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Nasim Zaidi clarified that future elections would be conducted using both EVMs and VVPATs.
In lieu of this clarification, the EC also issued a statement challenging state and central political parties to prove their stance on the EVMs being tampered with.
“The EC has put forth a challenge, which will be open from June 3. Interested participants must register by 5 pm on May 26. Either through a combination of key press or communication with the control unit, ballot unit or both via external hardware, participants must be able to prove their allegation of tampering,” asserted Zaidi
Addressing a media briefing in New Delhi on Saturday, Zaidi while rubbishing the claims of EVM tampering said no credible information was received to strengthen the complaints of tampering.
“Complaints came after elections in the five states, but we did not receive any credible material information on EVM tampering from the complainants. We believe in complete transparency and have no reason to hide anything,” he said.
“We did a thorough investigation after we received complaints following the elections held in Bhind. It has been made clear through the demo that no tampering was done. These are baseless rumours,” he added.
Asserting the implausibility of tweaking the process through external hardware, Zaidi revealed that the EVMs, being standalone machines, have no frequency receivers or data decoders to support technology involved with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or any such services requiring a stable internet connection.
Commenting on the accusation of Trojan horse, a key-press sequence being used to deliberate data on the chip, Zaidi while dismissing the same said the chip was a one-time programmable device.
“Trojan Horse cannot be inserted into EVMs since the chip on the EVM is one-time programmable. It doesn’t have a Wi-Fi chip and therefore cannot receive external signals either,” said Zaidi.
The EC’s new version of EVMs comes with self-diagnostic tamper-detection software which recognises digital signature. Hence, any alleged mishandling would be immediately detected, said Zaidi.
Developing on this, he also revealed that the technology behind these machines is being tested thoroughly in Bengaluru and Hyderabad by eminent technocrats under stringent security procedures, thus dismissing claims of software being imported from abroad.
With regards to Assembly by-polls, the EC clarified that it was not responsible for electoral procedures in the state, adding that these are conducted and governed by the State Election Commission and other such regulatory bodies.