EVM registers only BJP votes during demo in MP

EC wants report on incident from district authorities

EVM registers only BJP votes during demo in MP

The controversy over the credibility of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) was rekindled when a demonstration of the workings of the device to reporters went wrong, ahead of byelections in Madhya Pradesh.

The bypolls are to take place in the Ater Assembly constituency in Bhind district and Bandhavgarh constituency in Umaria district on April 9.

The Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) printouts during the trial only showed votes in favour of the BJP even when buttons for the candidates of other parties were pressed.
The Election Commission (EC) on Saturday decided to depute two teams of officers, along with technical experts, to make sure that the EVMs and the VVPATs deployed for the bypolls function properly.

“We have sought a detailed report from the District Election Officer,” a spokesperson of the EC said on Saturday.

Media reports on this botched trial has prompted the Congress and the AAP  to urge the EC to get the credibility of the machines re-examined by independent experts.

They also urged the poll panel not to use EVMs in any election till it could be established beyond doubt that the machines could not be tampered with. “I never trusted the EVM. You never know where the vote goes once the button is pressed. If ballot papers can be used all over the world to conduct elections, why cannot the same be done in India?” Digvijaya Singh, general secretary, All India Congress Committee, told journalists after he led a delegation of the party in a meeting with Chief Election Commissioner M Nasim Zaidi in New Delhi on Saturday.

Kejriwal, too, leading a delegation of the AAP, met the chief election commissioner. He said the software used in the EVMs had been tampered with to ensure that pressing any button on the machine will register votes in favour of the BJP.

The poll panel had vouched for the credibility of the EVMs even after the BSP and AAP raised questions about the machines after the recent state Assembly polls.

After Saturday’s incident, the EC said that “the integrity of the EVMs and the VVPATs to be used in the poll will be demonstrated to the complete satisfaction of all stakeholders by the team. These teams will remain in the Assembly constituencies till the counting is over.”

The EC decided to depute a team of high level officers led by Bhanwar Lal, the chief electoral officer of Andhra Pradesh, to supervise the bypolls in Madhya Pradesh.

PTI reported that Madhya Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer Saleena Singh, who was present at the demonstration, has denied reports that the VVPAT machine dispensed only BJP slips. She said the district poll authorities in Bhind have already sent their report to EC.

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