EC asks AAP to introspect on Punjab poll result, party calls remark 'unfortunate'

The AAP had approached the Election Commission over the reliability of the EVMs after its defeat in the Punjab Assembly election.

The Election Commission on Sunday asked the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to introspect on the reasons for the party's defeat in the recently held Assembly election in Punjab, instead of blaming the EVMs. The EC also made it clear that only a high court can order verification of votes cast in the polls with data of paper trail.

In a letter to AAP, the EC said it was time for the AAP "to introspect as to why your party could not perform as per your expectations and it is unfair on your part to attribute unsatisfactory poll performance of your party to the alleged tamperability of EVMS." The EC said as per election law, after declaration of results only alternative available to verify the data of votes cast is to file an Election Petition before the High Court concerned.

After the election results that was declared on March 11, the AAP had had alleged that poll authorities in Punjab had refused to accept its demand to tally results with paper trail audit. The AAP had moved the EC and raised the issue of reliability of the EVMs. The AAP had also raised concerns over the results of Punjab Assembly polls.

The Commission said no credible material had been brought to the knowledge of authorities during and at the time of EVM "mock drills" in Punjab elections to show alleged tampering in EVMs used in the state. "The Commission strongly objects to this wrong and imaginary extrapolation of (the) Supreme Court's order. This may please be noted as a responsible political party," it told AAP.

It said, "any surmise based on foreign studies or operating system based EVMs used elsewhere would be completely erroneous. The ECI-EVMs cannot be compared with those EVMs and ECI-EVMs are tamper-proof."

AAP RESPONSE TO EC LETTER

"It is unfortunate that instead of taking due action, the Election Commission is issuing political statement on the issue of EVM tampering. The incident of EVM tampering in Bhind district of Madhya Pradesh, where the VVPAT enabled EVM printed BJP's election symbol Lotus irrespective of the button pressed during a mock trial, has made it clear that Electronic Voting Machines are not tamper-proof. The incident shook the faith of millions of Indian voters in the impartiality of the Election Commission and the entire process of elections using Electronic Voting Machines.

The incident of Bhind has shown that the Election Commission has completely failed in its duty to protect the EVMs and the integrity of the election process and therefore failed in fulfilling its constitutional obligation of conducting free and fair elections.

The Aam Aadmi Party urges the Election Commission that for the sake of the institution's dignity and credibility, it should take immediate action to restore faith of the common man in the electoral process. Turning a blind eye to the shocking reports trickling in from UP, Maharashtra, Punjab and now Madhya Pradesh would serve no purpose and would only erode the credibility of the Election Commission."

(With inputs from PTI)

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Also read: AAP was sweeping Punjab, even BJP's Advani doubted EVMs: Kejriwal asks EC to probe alleged tampering

Also read: EVM tampering issue: Supreme Court wants Election Commission's reply within 4 weeks