ECI's statement on EVM tampering 'unfortunate': AAP

New Delhi [India], Apr. 3 (ANI): The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Sunday termed the Election Commission of India's (ECI) reply to its allegations against the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), citing they are vulnerable to tamperability, as "unfortunate" asserting that the poll watchdog should have taken an action against the issue rather than making such "political statements."

"It is unfortunate that instead of taking due action, the Election Commission is issuing political statement on the issue of EVM tampering," a statement from the AAP said.

"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," it added.

The AAP then urged 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," it added.

Earlier in the day, in a strongly-worded reply to the AAP's allegations against the EVMs, the ECI advised the former to introspect about its "unsatisfactory poll performance" in the assembly elections rather than attributing it to the alleged failure of the EVMs.

"It is for your party to introspect as to why your party could not perform as per your expectations and it is unfair on the part of your party to attribute unsatisfactory poll performance of your party to the alleged tamperability of EVMs. The Commission is fully satisfied with the tamper proof functioning of the ECI-EVMs," the ECI said in the letter.

"In an extraordinary measure, the Commission invited those persons who had expressed reservations about the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) to come and demonstrate the points made in their allegations from 3rd to 8th August 2009. The outcome of this exercise is that none of the persons, who were given the opportunity and who had brought with them some technical experts, could actually demonstrate any tamperability of the ECI-EVMs. They either failed or chose not to demonstrate," it added.

The letter added the Commission had put in place an elaborate administrative system of security measures and procedural checks-and-balances aimed at prevention of any possible misuse or procedural lapses. These safeguards were implemented by the ECI transparently with the active and documented involvement of political parties, candidates and their representatives at every stage to build their confidence on efficacy and reliability of EVMs.

The ECI also highlighted that the only alternative available to verify the data of votes cast, after declaration of results, was to file an Election Petition before the High Court concerned.

Earlier, after a dismal show in Punjab and Goa Assembly Elections 2017, Delhi Chief Minister and AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal alleged foul play in the EVMs.

The AAP then submitted a letter to the ECI, in which it stated that they had reached to the conclusion that there had been large-scale rigging through tampering of EVMs.

The Election Commission ordered a probe into the alleged EVM tampering issue after the Congress party complained that the VVPAT machine printed a BJP slip in a trial vote which was cast to the Samajwadi Party by pressing the party's button ahead of the Ater by-polls in Madhya Pradesh. (ANI)