No EVMs Tampered With In Guj Assembly Elections: Chief Election Commissioner

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New Delhi: Chief Election Commissioner Achal Kumar Joti on Monday said that “no electronic voting machines (EVMs) had been tampered with as far as the Gujarat assembly polls were concerned,” reported ANI.

Questions raised about EVM tampering had already been answered, Joti said, adding that voting had been conducted through voter verified paper audit trails (VVPATs) that enabled people to see who they had voted for. “All arrangements have been made in Gujarat by the chief electoral officer of the state in view of the counting,” he said.

Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam earlier in the day said that the Bharatiya Janata Party’s victory in Gujarat was not because of the people of the state but because of EVMs. He termed EVMs a “big threat to Indian democracy.”

“When the entire Gujarat was against the BJP and empty chairs could be seen during the prime minister’s poll rallies, this victory for the BJP is not by the people of Gujarat but by the EVMs,” he said, ” adding, “We suspected this right from the beginning. All beware, this is a big threat to Indian democracy.”

The BJP is set to form the its sixth government in Gujarat, with latest numbers showing the party to have won four seats, and ahead in 98 of 182 seats. The Congress has won one seat and is ahead in 73, while others are ahead in six seats. In the last assembly elections in the state in 2012, the BJP won 115 seats and the Congress 61.

Former chief election commissioner H.S. Brahma, speaking to ANI, said VVPATs could not be tampered with. “”I firmly believe that our EVMs, VVPATs cannot be tampered with. This matter should be closed once and for all as it is tried and tested. EVM is a standalone machine, question of hacking doesn’t arise,” he said. Former chief election commissioners N. Gopalaswami and Naveen Chawla have also said that they believe EVMs cannot be tampered with.

Patidar agitation leader Hardik Patel had earlier alleged that a company had hired 140 engineers to hack 5,000 EVMs. The Congress party too had made similar allegations against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and made a plea to the Supreme Court that the Election Commission crosscheck at least 25% of VVPATs with votes cast on the EVMs. The Supreme Court dismissed the party’s plea on Saturday.