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BJP-Cong spar over EVMs again: This time there is an international conspiracy to it

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New Delhi, Jan 22: The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday accused the Congress of hatching an international Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) conspiracy on undermine Indias democracy.

Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad

Just ahead of the 2019 General Elections, the EVMs once again gained spotlight when a self-proclaimed cyber expert, Syed Shuja, alleged in London that the 2014 General Elections were rigged.

Addressing a press conference here, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad alleged that the London event was an international conspiracy and the Congress was behind it.

Its notable that the senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal had attended a press conference after the EVM Hackathon in which Shuja had claimed that the BJP rigged the EVMs during 2014 Lok Sabha polls using a modulator which transmits a military-grade frequency. Apart from Sibal, no other leader from the Congress or any other political party was present.

Prasad questioned Sibals presence in the press conference.

"What was Mr Kapil Sibal doing there? In what capacity was he present there? I believe he was monitoring the situation on behalf of Congress party. "

The Union Minister said that the BJP would expose this claim and questioned was the Congress-sponsored event designed to defame the popular mandate of India?

"Is this not an insult to 90 million voters? It has been said that in 2014 we have won the elections from hacking. But, EVM is not being used from today but for many years. The UPA [United Progressive Alliance] was in power for 10 years then the EVM was fine? Mayawati won the 2007 election then EVM was okay? Akhilesh Yadav won in 2012 then EVM was okay? Mamta Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal won then EVM was okay? But when BJP wins then EVMs have a problem, " wondered Prasad.

The BJP had won 282 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha in the 2014 elections, the first time that a single party had secured a majority since 1984.

"In 2014, the UPA was in power, not us," said Prasad. "Where is the logic in accusing us of hacking EVMs when we were not in power?"

The Election Commission of India on Monday had refuted all the allegations and reiterated that electronic voting machines cannot be hacked. The poll panel said it would also examine what legal action it can take in the matter.

Soon after Prasads charge, senior Congress leader and former Union Minister Anand Sharma also addressed a press conference here and primarily lambasted Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his address in the Pravasi Bharatiya Sammelan.

Replying a question about the recent EVM controversy, Sharma said that the entire Opposition is in favour of returning back to the paper ballot system.

"Few years ago, the Opposition had submitted a joint memorandum with the Election Commission of India demanding going back to the paper ballot system. All the advanced countries have again adopted the paper ballot system, " Sharma said.

He, however, said that since the General Elections are approaching therefore at least the Election Commission should allow 50 percent VVPAT slips per constituency be randomly counted to ensure there is no electoral rigging.

The VVPAT is a printer-like machine attached to an EVM that allows a voter to briefly see whether his vote has been correctly gone in favour of the candidate intended.

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