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'Perfectly fine': Bihar CM Nitish Kumar dismisses allegations over credibility of EVMs

On Tuesday, the Congress demanded that the Election Commission address the "very serious" issues raised at a London presser by a self-proclaimed cyber expert on the functioning of EVMs.

India TV News Desk India TV News Desk
New Delhi Updated on: January 23, 2019 12:00 IST
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Nitish Kumar

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday batted for Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and said they are “perfectly fine”.

“EVM is perfectly fine and when there will be VVPAT (Voter-verifiable paper audit trail) at every booth, then there will be no problem at all. I don't agree with the things that are being said related to EVM,” ANI quoted him as saying.

“EVM has strengthened people's right to vote,” he added.

Just a few months ahead of the Lok Sabha elections 2019, the debate whether to use EVMs or not has again gained momentum.

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On Tuesday, the Congress demanded that the Election Commission address the "very serious" issues raised at a London presser by a self-proclaimed cyber expert on the functioning of EVMs.

The opposition party, however, maintained that it had nothing to do with the event, after the BJP questioned the presence of its leader Kapil Sibal there and alleged that the press conference was a"Congress-sponsored conspiracy" designed to "defame" Indian democracy and its Election Commission.

Congress senior spokesperson Anand Sharma demanded that the EC ensure that 50 per cent of VVPAT or paper trail of votes is counted randomly during Lok Sabha election to allay people's fears of alleged tampering of EVMs.

He also hit out at BJP leader and Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, saying he and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are "flying high" and the "countdown of their ouster has begun".

On Kapil Sibal's presence at the London event, Sharma said, "you should ask him instead".

Meanwhile, Sibal separately addressed the media in London claiming that he was invited by the organisers and thus attended the event. He termed the charges levelled by the "cyber expert" as "very serious", stressing that they concern the survival of democracy in India and there should be an inquiry into them.

"Various opposition parties have expressed their doubts on the functioning of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in writing to the Election Commission. The main opposition parties had demanded reverting to the paper ballot, as only four countries are left in the world which have not gone back to them," Sharma told reporters.

The former Union minister said all parties have collectively given a memorandum to the Election Commission on the issue.

Sharma said the "legitimate concern" was not addressed and the Supreme Court in turn had opined that there would be random counting of a small percentage of the VVPAT slips.

"What we are saying is at least what can be done and we remain firm on this demand that the EC must address the concerns raised by opposition parties," he said.

"There is some merit in this demand but in the interim until this issue is finally addressed, at least 50 per cent of the VVPAT slips must be randomly counted in every parliamentary constituency and not 10 per cent.

"Then only the voters can be fully assured that the process has some sanctity and credibility. It is important that the elections are not only free and fair but the voters must also believe that it is free and fair," he said.

Sharma said the demand was also raised in the Congress plenary political resolution in March last year.

(With inputs from agencies)

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