New Delhi: After a series of allegations by political parties against the reliability of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), the Election Commission (EC) on Wednesday invited sceptics to attempt to hack the machines at a 'hackathon' in May.
According to an NDTV report, the EC will also hold a demonstration for all major political parties to show that machines cannot be rewired to favour a particular party. However, dates of both events have not been decided.
Earlier, the poll panel had said that it will bring back the exercise it conducted in 2009, when similar accusations were made against EVMs.
Representatives from political parties will be invited to take part in the challenge, said the report.
On Monday, Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal had challenged the ECto make the EVMs available to the party for 72 hours and claimed that “we will read the code and rewrite it too”.
Other Opposition parties, including the Congress, Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Trinamool Congress (TMC) have also claimed that EVMs had been tampered in the recently concluded Assembly elections, to enable a BJP victory.
BSP chief Mayawati had in particular claimed that EVM tampering was responsible for her party’s abysmal performance in the Uttar Pradesh polls, a charge also made by SP and Congress for their own poor showing.
The AAP had blamed EVM tampering for its loss in Punjab, a state which was, interestingly, won by the Congress parties have demanded that EVMs should not be used for elections unless equipped with a Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) facility.
These allegations gained currency on Saturday following reports that a VVPAT machine used during a trial in Madhya Pradesh only dispensed slips with the BJP’s poll symbol. While the EC has continued to maintain that EVMs cannot be tampered with, it suspended 3 SHOs in Bhind of MP follwing the incident.