Amid the raging controversy over Electronic Voter Machine, or EVMs, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora on Thursday ruled out a return to ballot papers and made it clear that EVMs will be used for the Lok Sabha 2019 elections.
“I would like to make it very clear that we are not going back to the era of ballot papers,” Arora said at an event in Delhi.
We are open to any criticism and feedback but we are not going to be bullied; we are going to keep using #EVM and #VVPAT: CEC Sh Sunil Arora pic.twitter.com/mgWYsIUPBQ
— PIB India (@PIB_India) January 24, 2019
“We will continue to use EVMs & VVPATs. We are open to any criticism & feedback from any stakeholder including political parties. At the same time, we are not going to be intimidated, bullied or coerced into giving up these and start era of ballot papers,” he added.
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The statement comes just a couple of days after ‘cyber expert’ Syed Shuja claimed that the 2014 Lok Sabha elections were rigged in favour of the BJP by remotely hacking the EVMs. The Election Commission on Tuesday filed a complaint against Shuja, asking the police to ‘investigate promptly’ the statement made by him on Monday at an event in London.
Dismissing the claims as unfortunate, Arora said that elections conducted since 2014 had thrown up various winners, so to attribute the results to EVMs is wrong. “If result is ‘X’ then EVM is fine, if not then EVM is faulty. EVMs are not a football,” he said.
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The CEC said that EVMs have been used in India for over two decades now, and to address concerns of political parties, VVPAT system was also introduced to increase transparency. “We will never tolerate any discrepancies. We have never tolerated it even if the instances were small or few,” he added.
(With agency inputs)
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