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Lok Sabha Elections 2024 | Ensure complete transparency of EVMs or abolish them: Rahul tells EC

The demand came a day after the Congress leader had alleged that the electronic voting machine is a 'black box' and nobody is allowed to scrutinise them while further alleging that serious concerns are being raised about transparency in our electoral process.
Last Updated : 17 June 2024, 13:15 IST

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New Delhi: Raising questions on the reliability of EVMs, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday asked the Election Commission to ensure complete transparency of the machines and processes or abolish them.

The demand came a day after the Congress leader had alleged that the electronic voting machine is a "black box" and nobody is allowed to scrutinise them while further alleging that serious concerns are being raised about transparency in our electoral process.

"When democratic institutions are captured, the only safeguard lies in electoral processes that are transparent to the public," Gandhi said in a post on X.

"EVM is currently a black box. EC must either ensure complete transparency of the machines and processes or abolish them," the former Congress president also said.

Congress leader Gaurav Gogoi said, "Before treating the Electronic Voting Machines as infallible, the Election Commission of India should put out data on how many Electronic Voting Machines were found faulty throughout the elections."

"How many machines showed the wrong time, date, votes registered ? How many EVMs had their components replaced - counting unit? ballot unit ? How many EVMs were found faulty during the mock poll," he asked.

"Having contested the elections, I can confidently say that these machines have shown inaccurate results. I hope the Election Commission puts out the above data because the public have the right to know," Gogoi also said in a post on X.

A fresh political slugfest has erupted over EVM tampering claims with Gandhi and other opposition leaders citing a media report that alleged that a relative of the Shiv Sena candidate in Mumbai North West Lok Sabha constituency was found using a mobile phone "connected" to an electronic voting machine during the counting of votes on June 4.

However, Vandana Suryavanshi, the returning officer of the constituency, dismissed the report in Mid-Day newspaper as "false news" and said a defamation notice has been issued to the publication.

She asserted the EVM is a standalone system, not programmable and has no wireless communication capabilities.

The BJP hit out at the opposition leaders over the issue and demanded that the Election Commission should prosecute all those who "amplified the lie" by sharing the news report.

Questioning the reliability of EVMs, Gandhi and others had on Sunday also quoted a post by Elon Musk, chairman of social media platform X and CEO of Tesla, in which he talked about eliminating EVMs and claimed the risk of hacking was "too high".

"We should eliminate electronic voting machines. The risk of being hacked by humans or AI, while small, is still too high," Musk said while responding to a a post by US politician Robert F Kennedy Jr alleging Puerto Rico’s primary elections experienced "hundreds of voting irregularities related to electronic voting machines".

Congress' ally and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav also questioned the credibility of EVMs and demanded that all future elections should be conducted through ballot papers.

"EVMs in India are a 'black box' and nobody is allowed to scrutinise them. Serious concerns are being raised about transparency in our electoral process. Democracy ends up becoming a sham and prone to fraud when institutions lack accountability," Gandhi said in a post on X and tagged the media report which claimed that a relative of Shiv Sena's candidate Ravindra Waikar, who won the polls from Mumbai's North-West seat by 48 votes, had a phone that unlocks an EVM.

Former Union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar of the BJP countered Musk's criticism of the EVMs and said that the billionaire businessman's view may apply to the US and other places where they use regular compute platforms to build "Internet-connected voting machines".

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Published 17 June 2024, 13:15 IST

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