EVM challenge: A damp squib

The Election Commission's `EVM challenge', announced after over a dozen parties questioned the infallibility of EVMs in the backdrop of results of recent state polls, ended in an anti-climax with neither of the two takers for the `dare', CPM and NCP, coming forward to demonstrate that the machines could be tampered with.

While parties like AAP and BSP, which were at forefront of the campaign against EVMs, stayed away from Saturday's challenge, even NCP and CPM, that had volunteered to participate in the `dare', backed out at the eleventh hour from attempting manipulation of the EVMs offered by EC. CPM insisted it had never intended to attempt tampering and was only participating to understand the EVM process. NCP, too, said it was interested only in participating in an academic exercise and opted out of the challenge after it was told by EC that its EVMs were different from those used in local polls, which happened to be the source of party's concerns regarding EVMs. It, however, said a system should be developed to distinguish ECI EVM with State EC's EVMs.

Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi said that with the EVM challenge now done with and 100% use of VVPAT machines in all future polls, the issue of tamperability of EVMs “stands closed“. Also mentioning Uttarakhand HC order restraining parties and others from criticising the use of EVMs in recent state polls till all election petitions are disposed of, Zaidi said in the event of any party violating the order, the “EC will take an appropriate decision“.

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