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EVM tampering: Kejriwal seeks use of ballot papers in MCD polls, says ‘postpone elections if need be’

Kejriwal today reiterated his allegations that EVMs can be tampered with and demanded that civic polls in the national capital be postponed if needed to use the paper ballot.
India TV Politics Desk New Delhi April 03, 2017 18:35 IST
India TV Politics Desk

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday reiterated his allegations that Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) can be tampered with and demanded that civic polls in the national capital be postponed if needed to use the paper ballot.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief said that there is no other option than carrying out the voting process through paper ballot as "democracy is under threat."

Referring to an EVM in Madhya Pradesh found to have been allegedly manipulated, the AAP leader said the machine had come from Uttar Pradesh and it raised questions about the BJP's sweeping win in Assembly elections in that state.

His remark was in reference to an incident in Madhya Pradesh's Bhind, where during a demonstration exercise, Voter-verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machine was reportedly dispensing slips of BJP symbol only, irrespective of the button pressed.

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.

Kejriwal said all the EVMs to be used in the April 9 by-election in Madhya Pradesh had come from Govind Nagar constituency in Uttar Pradesh and demanded to know what was so special about Govind Nagar.

The Election Commission, he said, had violated its own rules that say that EVMs used in an election can't be reused for 45 days because someone can petition against the result that would warrant an examination of the EVM.

He asked the urgency to shift the EVM from UP and expressed suspicion that there could be more faulty machines used in the recently concluded Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.  

"Earlier, when the EVMs were defective, if a voter pressed the button for one party, the light for that would not glow. The voter would thus know the machine was faulty. But now the light glows correctly but the vote is recorded in the chip in favour of the BJP," the Chief Minister said.

"So EVMs without VVPAT (paper trail) cannot be checked if they are defective or not," he said. 

Delhi's civic polls are due on April 23 along with a by-election from Rajouri Garden to the Delhi assembly. Kejriwal said the EVMs to be used in Rajouri Garden too had come from Uttar Pradesh.

Kejriwal asked the Election Commission to hand over to the AAP an EVM for 72 hours. 

"The Election Commission is saying that the EVMs can not be rewritten. I request the EC to give us the EVM for 72 hours. We have experts who will check if the chip can be rewritten or not," he said.

"The software in the chips can be changed. This is happening on a large scale," Kejriwal said. 

He said paper ballot should be used in Delhi's civic polls to guarantee transparency.

"And if the civic polls needed to be postponed to ensure the use of paper ballot, they should be postponed as the democracy is under threat," he added.