The Election Commission on Saturday dared political parties to prove, at an open challenge beginning June 3, their charge that electronic voting machines could be rigged.
Parties that had contested the recent elections to five state legislative assemblies are eligible to take part in the EVM Challenge, which will take place over four or five days, Chief Election Commissioner S Nasim Zaidi said.
Each party can nominate, by May 26, three persons to participate in the EVM Challenge at the Election Commission headquarters here.
“There are two challenges – you have to prove tampering of EVMs during the poll process, and when they are stored in the strong rooms,” Zaidi told reporters here. Each party gets a slot of four hours to prove its charge, and will be judged by a four-member independent committee of experts in mathematics, computer science and instrumentation.
The challengers have to rig the EVMs by pressing a combination of keys on the machines.
They can also attempt to rig it with the help of external Bluetooth devices and mobile phones.
EVMs of the challengers’ choice could be made available at the time alloted to them.
The CEC rejected demands of some parties to allow them to take away the EVMs and show how their internal circuits could be changed. “Changing the internal circuit of any device is like changing the whole device itself,” he said. However, they will be allowed to “visually inspect” the circuits inside the machines during the challenge.
Bahujan Samajwadi Party supremo Mayawati, Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav, the Congress and 10 other parties had petitioned the Election Commission against the EVMs after the BJP won landslide victories in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
Zaidi said after the declaration of results in five states on March 11, the commission had received 120 petitions alleging tampering of EVMs, but no complainant followed it up with any credible evidence.
Even as Zaidi was addressing the press conference, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who had levelled allegations of EVM tampering, said the commission had never provided parties with machines to prove their charges.