Debate on can Electronic Voting Machines(EVMs) be tampered has been going on for quiet some time in India. Political parties in the country are often seen alleging each other of EVM tampering. But the question is, can a EVM be really tampered? On April 13’ 2017, Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Tripura President Biplab Kumar Deb during a public meeting in Teliamura in Khowai district, had said that the results seen in Uttar Pradesh and Manipur assembly polls will recur in Tripura too and even if Chief Minister Manik Sarkar casts his vote for his CPI-M, it will be recorded in favour of the lotus (BJP’s election symbol). Deb’s comments, exclusive video of the speech which INSIDENE posses, came at a time when a national debate is going on about the accurate performance of the EVMs used in the election after BJP’s sweeping victory in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand followed by alleged manipulation of EVMs in favour of BJP in a by-poll in Madhya Pradesh.
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The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) led Left Front then had lodged a protest with the Election Commission against Biplab Deb’s alleged Comment. The Left Front along with its protest letter submitted CD and video of Deb’s public speech to the Election Commission on April 14’ 2017.
Ahead of the Gujarat assembly elections, PAAS leader, Hardik Patel had fuelled fears about EVM tampering. Patel had said that BJP can win Gujarat election only through EVM tampering. He had questioned why the EVMs are kept for 5-7 days after the polls and apprehended that during this time the machines could be tampered. Eventually, the BJP, who was in power in Gujarat, sweeped the polls.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal also had raised doubts over the BJP’s landslide victory in Uttar Pradesh assembly elections. Kejriwal had also demanded the Election Commission to release EVMs for investigation into allegations of tampering and deliberate fixing.
J Alex Halderman, who is a professor of Computer Science in the University of Michigan College of Engineering had also said that EVMs are unsafe in India. He had reiterated that the Election Commission doesn’t allow independent evaluation of EVMs. Prof J Alex had also said that the Election Commission doesn’t allow public to learn machines’ inner workings.
It is to be noted that, when BJP was not in power in the centre, the saffron party spokesperson KVL Narasimha Rao in a television show had accepted that EVMs could be tampered.
Learning from all the political parties and from the exclusive video which INSIDENE posses, where BJP state president of Tripura is seen saying in a open rally that EVMs could be tampered, is it not a high time that the Election Commission look into the matter seriously? Can a EVM be really tampered?