EVM Row: All eyes now on the all-party meet called by ECI

Hardnews Bureau

As workers of AAP take to street demanding implementation of VVPAT in EVMs, all eyes are glued to the all-party meeting called by the election commission to put to rest the growing debate over reliability of the EVM in India’s electoral process

A day after AAP MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj's demonstration of the manipulation of Electronic Voting Machines(EVMs) on the floor of the Delhi Assembly, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Thursday staged a protest outside the Election Commission's office demanding elections across the country be held with voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) equipped machines. Meanwhile, the ECI has called for an all-party meeting on Friday to discuss the issue.

Saurabh Bhardwaj talking to media said that they want the commission to form a committee with the representatives of ECI and AAP’s technical team and they will show them that there EVMs could be manipulated.  There is already a huge buzz over the rumoured hackathon to be conducted by the commission to show that their machines are impenetrable.

Led by its Delhi Convenor Gopal Rai scores of AAP workers holding placards gathered outside the Commission's office and shouted slogans 'vote chori bandh koro’ (stop stealing votes). The protest was held under 'Save Democracy' campaign launched by the party. AAP MLAs during the protest handed over a memorandum demanding ECI to conduct elections with VVPAT equipped EVMs, and secondly match votes with slip trails at 25 percent random booths. "This issue (EVMs tampering) is not about AAP's victory or loss, this is to save democracy," the party had earlier stated.

Taking a dig at the EC, Bharadwaj also tweeted, "Biggest proof of EVM tampering is not my demo. It was EC's demo in Bhind and Dhaulpur when all votes went to BJP." During the day-long special session of Delhi Assembly called by the AAP government, Bharadwaj had shown that by feeding a secret code in the EVMs, how votes could be transferred to a specific party to make their candidate win. However, taking cognisance of media reports regarding the demonstration, the EC had said that it should be understood that it was possible for anyone to make any electronic gadget which "looks like" ECI EVM and demonstrate "any magic or tampering.”

Joining the debate over the reliability of EVMs, Congress has also demanded the election commission to bring in experts from the field and dispel the growing rumours about the validity of the voting machines in giving out valid results. Congress leaders targeting AAP over their demonstration of EVM hacking in the assembly called it a sheer wastage of time. Congress Delhi Chief Ajay Maken said, “All doubts regarding EVMs could have been put before the Election Commission on May 12, instead of wasting the precious time of the assembly, convened at enormous cost to the exchequer.” Meanwhile, BJP leaders declared the demonstration as a drama and a joke to divert people’s attention from the pressing issue of AAP leaders involved in corruption.

The political drama curated by the AAP is getting more complicated with the passing of every day as its former cabinet minister Kapil Mishra who is on an indefinite hunger strike reached Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) office to register his statement in the water tanker scam. Mishra on Wednesday evening came under attack who he alleged to be workers of the AAP. AAP, however, rubbishing the claims of Mishra said that the attacker Ankit Bhardwaj was a member of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).