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EVMs tamper-proof; working to minimise machine malfunctions: Poll panel

The CEC said it is the stand of the Election Commission that the country will not go back to the ballot paper

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Sunil Arora
Sunil Arora | Photo: Wikipedia

Chief Sunil Thursday asserted that Machines cannot be tampered with, as he lamented EVMs being "tossed like a football" in political discourse.

He also said the is striving to ensure that incidents of EVM malfunctions reported during polls are reduced to a minimum.

"We are not satisfied. We are moving forward to ensure that there are not even a few incidents (of malfunction)," he told in an interview.

A former bureaucrat, was appointed as on August 31, 2017. He succeeded Om Prakash Rawat as Chief On December 1 this year after he retired.

said tampering and malfunctioning are two separate things. "Tampering shows mala fide (intention). Malfunction can happen," he said.

There were 1.76 lakh polling booths in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, and Telangana, where assembly were held recently, Arora said.

There were very few incidents of EVM malfunctioning (less than one per cent) of the total machines deployed, he said.

A total of 176,000 EVMs were deployed -- one machine per booth -- during the

He said the poll panel is continuously working to ensure that there are not even a few incidents of malfunction. "EVM is only a machine which records votes. Can it be programmed? No. A polite but emphatic no," he asserted.

He said while the 2014 Lok Sabha had one result, the assembly elections in held soon after had an entirely different result.

Recent assembly polls in the five states had different results and even the bypolls held earlier had different results, he pointed out.

"If the result is 'X', it is okay. But if it is 'Y' then the EVM is faulty," he said, responding to allegations by political parties on the reliability of EVMs.

Responding to a query, Arora said while political parties were free to target the and question its impartiality as it was their "right" as an important stakeholder, he said he was "hurt" that the EVM was being "tossed like a football".

Political parties are an important stakeholder after voters, he said.

The CEC said it is the stand of the that the country will not go back to the ballot paper. "I am reiterating the stand today," he said.

The will hold the 2019 under Arora.

Besides the Lok Sabha polls, Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, Odisha, Maharashtra, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, and are scheduled to be held next year.

Arora also said that everyone in the Commission will continue to put their best foot forward to meet the expectation of all the stakeholders strictly in consonance and in conformity with the vision and ideals of the Constitution.

"We are also aware that Elections to Lok Sabha are in the offing. The internal preparations for this actually started sometimes back. We will try to meticulously prepare on all fronts ...

"All my colleagues in the EC, we will elicit and want to solicit cooperation of all the stakeholders including political parties, members of the civil society, NGOs, media and all those who have a stake in the crucial events like elections to Lok Sabha of India," he said.

First Published: Thu, December 20 2018. 13:00 IST