Facing charges of graft from within a section of his own party, Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo Arvind Kejriwal today congratulated his party MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj for proving that Electronic Voting Machines can indeed be rigged.
Speaking to media here, Kejriwal made an appeal to the people to raise their voice against the Bharatiya Janata Party’s ‘conspiracy’.
“Saurabh Bhardwaj today proved that Electronic Voting Machines can be rigged,” he said.
When told that the Election Commission had rejected the claims made by the party in the Delhi Assembly today, Kejriwal said that the poll body should hand them the EVMs and see what they can do with it.
“Hum toh keh rahe hain aap (EC) apni EVM dijiye, motherboard change karna hai 90 second lagte hain. (We dare you to give us your EVM, it takes only 90 seconds to change the motherboard),” he added.
Amid huge anticipation over the string of graft charges levelled against Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and other leaders, the Delhi Assembly today convened for a special one-day session. Contrary to expectations of some sensational revelations, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government today used the opportunity to go back to its charge of how tampering of EVM machines resulted in the party’s loss in the recent elections.
Party MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj today gave a live demonstration in the Delhi Assembly to prove that Electronic Voting Machines can indeed be rigged. The machine used for the demonstration is believed to be a replica of the EVMs used in polling, and not the actual machine.
In 2001, Madras High Court had rejected the allegations that the poll machine can be tampered with. In 2002, the Kerala High Court had upheld the use of EVMs, while in 2004, the Karnataka High Court had hailed the EVMs as “national pride”. In 2005, the Mumbai High Court had also concluded that EVMs can’t be tampered with.
Explaining how EVMs work, Bhardwaj first conducted a mock poll on the floor of the House. In full view of cameras, Bharadwaj voted two votes each for the AAP, the BJP, Congress, BSP and the SP. He then reset the machine and conducted a repoll claiming that machines can be tampered with using a secret code.
He said that secret codes are entered by political parties agents so cleverly that election officials present on the booth can never trace them. He even displayed a placard bearing the codes that, once entered on the machine, would turn out a count favourable to one political party.
The engineer-turned-politician said that codes were different for all political parties. "There are secret codes that can be used to decide on the day of voting which candidate can win," Bhardwaj said.
He then polled a total of 19 votes – in full view of the members – polling 10 votes for the AAP, 3 for BJP and 2 each to the BSP, SP and the Congress. When the results were displayed, the machine showed 11 votes for the BJP and two each for the rest of the parties.
“I have seen again & again around the country, several places whoever one votes for, vote goes to only BJP, due to VVPAT,” Bhardwaj then claimed. “All it takes to rig an EVM is changing the motherboard. All it takes is 90 seconds.”
Bhardwaj, a software engineer by profession, further said that if elections continued through the EVMs being currently used, there would be no measure of democracy left and “only one party will rule”.
“For successful hacking, all we need is a hacked smarter than the software designer. Tomorrow foreign powers could control,” he said, adding that 90 seconds is all it takes to hack an EVM and it only requires changing a motherboard.
“Once the polls close EVMS are sealed, numbers are noted and EVMs are guarded till strongrooms. But tampering is already done,” he said.
The session in the Delhi Assembly earlier began on a stormy note with the Spwaker ordering marshals to escort BJP MLA Vijender Gupta out of the House for creating a ruckus. The BJP leader was trying to raise an issue pertaining to the corruption in land deals involving Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and PWD Minister Satyendra Jain. The BJP has four MLAs in a 70-member House.
EC refutes charges
Refuting the charges levelled by the AAP in the Assemble today, the Election Commission said that the EVM used for demonstration today was not the one used by the commission and hence cannot be compared with the machines used during elections. It further said that the EVM used for the live demo was programmed and that there were no codes used in EVMs as claimed by the AAP.
“No code is used, the machine used in the demonstration was already programmed,” EC sources said. “When a button of the ballot unit is pressed, the remaining buttons are automatically blocked. The buttons can be unblocked only by the control unit,” it said.
It also rejected the charge by Bharadwaj that rigging EVMs only required changing the motherboard and that it could be done in all but 90 seconds. The EC said that the motherboard can’t be changed by the common man and that only a trained technician can open an EVM machine.