ECI pleaded to hold elections in Arunachal through ballot papers

ECI pleaded to hold elections in Arunachal through ballot papers

ITANAGAR, Jun 3: Shocked at the “poor’ functioning of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), a trio of opposition parties – People’s Party of Arunachal (PPA), National People’s Party (NPP), Arunachal Pradesh Unit and Congress have drawn the attention of the Election Commission of India (ECI) on the elections coming up in about a year’s time, pleading it to conduct elections in Arunachal Pradesh through ballot papers.

To drive their point home, the parties said: “We are appealing the ECI to conduct the next year’s elections in Arunachal Pradesh through ballot papers so that the deserving candidates — and not the candidates with wealth, power and technology to influence and manipulate the EVM results — win.”

The trio made this observation after getting a brief about the robustness, reliability and working of the EVMs at the DC’s office, Yupia today, on an invitation by the State Election Commission.

The team interacted with the officials of Electronic Corporation of India Limited (ECIL), the company that manufactures and maintains EVMs. To demonstrate the working of EVMs, the officials of ECIL set up three sets of EVMs (an EVM consists of a ballot unit and a control unit), which had been earlier found to be working properly.

“All the three control units malfunctioned. The faulty control units were replaced by three fresh control units; and to the shock of the teams present, two of the three fresh control units malfunctioned. The officials of ECIL demonstrated the working of an EVM with the last remaining EVM that was working properly,” according to a release of PPA.

After their visit, PPA, NPP, and INC issued a joint statement which says: “Today’s malfunctioning of 5 out of 6 control units of EVMs aptly reflects the fear that arose in every political party’s (except BJP’s) mind (after the shocking and overconfident statement by Pema Khandu that BJP would win all 60 seats in the next state assembly election) that the reliability and robustness of EVMs is questionable. A team of scientists have demonstrated that an EVM can be hacked and its results can be manipulated. Recently in Palghar, around 100 EVMs malfunctioned during election and as a result of which BJP candidate won by a narrow margin. All these things point to one thing: that there must be a strong reason for Pema Khandu’s statement that a failed government and a government of unfulfilled promises (like 15 lakh rupees to every Indian, 2 crore jobs per year, smart cities, etc) like BJP would win all 60 seats in the next assembly elections. The provision of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) — a machine that prints out the result of each and every vote — is inadequate and unsatisfactory as there is no provision for the voters to sign on the printouts of their vote as a result of which the fear that the printouts be replaced arises.”

Having learned that the machines were used in 2009 elections, the team said: “At a time when even one year old Android and iOS Phones and Windows computers can be hacked, the fact that EVMs used in 2009 are again being used in 2018 doesn’t help dissipate the doubts one has on the reliability and robustness EVMs. USA and the European countries (except Belgium and France) still use ballot papers for elections, and the statements like that of Pema Khandu in which he claimed that BJP would win all the seats of the next assembly elections show exactly why developed nations of the world doesn’t trust in EVMs.”

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