EVM hackathon: NCP, CPM want to understand voting process, says CEC

Earlier, there were reports of widespread allegations that electronic voting machines had been tampered with during civic polls.

New Delhi: The Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) only wanted to understand the voting process, said Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Nasim Zaidi on Saturday.

He was addressing media after Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) hackathon challenge.

"The CPI (M) team expressed complete satisfaction and suggested that commission should hold such demonstration and awareness sessions proactively. The NCP team informed that they too don't want to participate in any challenge but were only interested to participate in an academic exercise," said Zaidi.

The CEC said that the NCP was concerned about the EVMs used during municipal elections in Maharashtra, on which the Commission clarified that the EVMs used during civic body election process belonged to the state Election Commission.

"The NCP team then expressed their willingness to opt out, requesting that the commission should evolve a system that clearly distinguishes ECI's EVMs and state election commission's EVMs. The election commission has taken note of the suggestions offered by the NCP," said Zaidi.

He further stated that all the future election will be held mandatory with Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) which will bring transparency in the voting process and credibility in the EVM based voting system.

The CEC asserted that the Election Commission would leave no stone unturned in preserving the purity, integrity and credibility of election process and would continue to reinforce the trust of the people in the electoral democracy of the country.

The NCP and the CPI (M) were the only two parties that registered for the hackathon challenge. Both the parties nominated three persons for the challenge.

The ECI put up 14 EVMs, randomly selected and brought sealed from different polling booth from five state which went on polling recently, for the hacking challenge.

The poll panel issued the challenge after several major opposition parties, including the Bahujan Samaj Party ( BSP), the Aam Aadmi Party ( AAP) alleged that the EVMs used in the recently concluded assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh were tampered with.

The ECI invited seven national and 49 state parties recognised by it for the challenge. It had left out smaller parties and Independents who had contested the recent polls from participating in the challenge.

Earlier on Friday, the Uttarakhand High Court barred the political parties, social media networks and others from criticising the use of EVMs in the recently conducted assembly polls.

The High Court issued directive while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that requested quashing the EC's EVM Hackathon challenge as "it was illegal, ultra vires, unconstitutional and beyond the jurisdiction of Article 324".

The bench in its order said that the poll panel has successfully held free and fair elections and nobody can be permitted to lower the image and prestige of the constitutional body.

( Source : ANI )
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