ITANAGAR, June 4: Shocked at the ‘poor’ functioning of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), Opposition parties in Arunachal Pradesh – People’s Party of Arunachal (PPA), National People’s Party (NPP), Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) have drawn the attention of the Election Commission of India (ECI), pleading it to conduct elections in state 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, on an invitation by the State Election Commission.
The team on Sunday 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, which have 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,” PPA said in a release.
After their visit, the PPA, NPP, and INC issued a joint statement which says: “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 the BJP would win all 60 seats in the next assembly elections,” the statement said.
“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,” it added.