Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday demanded that the municipal polls be "postponed" by a month or two till arrangements are made to use VVPAT-equipped EVMs.
Kejriwal met the Delhi State Election Commissioner (SEC) and alleged that "redundant" pre-2006 electronic voting machines (EVMs) that were "junked" and can be "hacked even by a child" are going to be used in the 23 April municipal polls.
Arvind Kejriwal He (SEC) said he will write to the Chief Election Commissioner. But there is one week left for the polls. So there’s no possibility of replacing the machines or bring VVPAT machines. So I told him to postpone it by 1-2 months by writing to the CEC.
VVPAT is a machine which dispenses a slip with the symbol of the party for which a person has voted for. The slip drops in a box, but the voter cannot take it home.
The voters see Voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) slip for seven seconds, which would be an acknowledgement receipt for the party they voted for in the election.
Kejriwal, who has been raising the issue of alleged EVM manipulation since the Punjab poll verdict where the AAP finished a distant second, also demanded that the AAP be allowed to get the machines “technically verified by experts” during mock trials before the polls.
Arvind Kejriwal Even children can hack these machines. In Rajasthan, they tampered machines in Dholpur. Since they are in a government there, they entered strongrooms and manipulated machines.
Speaking to NDTV, Kejriwal claimed that the code inside the EVMs can be "manipulated" at the source and accused the Election Commission of not taking any steps to restore the "faith of people" on the electoral process.
Arvind Kejriwal Just wait and watch. I promise you something in the next 10 days. They (EC) are doing something wrong. We cannot close our eyes to such reports. Why are they brushing everything under the carpet?
Old or New, EVMs Are Foolproof: Delhi State Poll Commission
The generation-1 electronic voting machines (EVMs), brought in for the municipal polls are "foolproof" and the programme used in them "cannot be manipulated", the Delhi State Election Commission said in its response to Kejriwal.
SK Srivastava, State Election Commissioner The process is fairly randomised and so the programme used in these machines cannot be manipulated to benefit any one candidate or party. Also, these machines are not networked either by wire or wirelessly to any other machine or system. So, there is no possibility of its data corruption.
The Commission rejected Kejriwal’s proposal saying there was no provision to postpone the elections. Kejriwal insisted, under the Delhi Municipal Corporation (DMC) Act, the Centre has the power to extend the tenure of the civic bodies by one year.
"When we made the request to the Election Commission for the EVMs we did not specify any particular type of the machine. Also, at that time, there was no issue relating to EVMs”, said SK Srivastava. He added:
For the MCD polls, we will be using the machines which have been provided by the EC. And, we will be inviting the candidates to see and check the machines during the mock trials.
According to the Election Commission, the EVM is electronically protected to prevent any tampering or manipulation.
Election Commission The programme (software) used in these machines is burnt into a one-time programmable (OTP)/masked chip so that it cannot be altered or tampered with.
Generation-1 machines are those which were manufactured before 2006; Generation-2 between 2006 and 2013 and machines manufactured post-2013 are termed Generation-3.
A senior official when asked about procurement of VVPAT- equipped machines, said, "There are not enough VVPAT-equipped EVMs."
Join The Quint on WhatsApp. Type “JOIN” and send to 9910181818.