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Published On: Fri, May 12th, 2017

Election panel to meet 55 parties today, ahead of EVM hacking challenge

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viewimage.phpNEW DELHI : In the wake of doubts repeatedly raised by many opposition parties on the reliability of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), the Election Commission will on Friday meet representatives of 55 political parties to put forward its stand on the matter.
The EC will convene the meeting of seven national and 48 state parties to discuss the reliability of EVMs after leaders of 13 parties met Election Commission officials in April to convey their “complete loss of faith” in the EVMs and to demand use of VVPAT (voter-verified paper audit trail) and paper ballots in future polls. Leaders of all National and State recognized parties will participate in the meeting.
Days before the proposed meet, the Aam Admi Party had staged a demonstration on hacking a ‘voting machine’ in the Delhi Assembly. The party had used an EMV prototype to make the demonstration.The EC had trashed AAP’s claim, saying the ‘machine is a look-alike and not the ECI-EVM’.

The poll watchdog in its communication to the presidents of all the seven national and 48 state political parties had sent a status paper on EVMs and Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail, VVPAT. During the meeting today, the commission will try to assure parties that the EVMs cannot be hacked in any manner. Last month, sixteen opposition parties had urged the poll body to revert to the paper ballot system saying that the alleged tampering has created trust deficit in the credibility of the EVMs.

However, the commission has been maintaining that EVMs are tamper proof and cannot be manipulated.
The poll panel intends to use Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) units attached with EVMs in the coming elections for greater transparency and to keep voters’ confidence in the electoral process.

The Union Cabinet had given its nod to sanctioned funds of nearly 3200 crore rupees to procure more than 16 lakh VVPATs as sought by the EC. Besides EVMs, the meeting is expected to deliberate on making bribery in elections a cognisable offence, disqualification on framing of charges for the offences of bribery in elections and suggestions in VVPAT recount Rules. A final date for a proposed hackathon of EVMs to be conducted by the commission is expected to be fixed after the all-party meeting.
(With Agency inputs)

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