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EVM challenge: CPM and NCP express satisfaction

By Chennabasaveshwar

The Communist Party of India-Marxists was an observer and Nationalist Congress Party termed its participation as an 'academic exercise' in the EVM challenge held on Saturday by Election Commission in Delhi.

CEC Nasim Zaidi said NCP didn't want to participate in the challenge but wished to understand the EVM process. A detailed demonstration was given to both CPM and NCP.

'CPM team expressed complete satisfaction and suggested that commission should hold such demonstration & awareness sessions proactively,' said Zaidi.

EC begins EVM challenge; only 2 parties present. PTI file photo

NCP had doubts about alleged problems with EVMs used in municipal elections in Maharashtra. But, EC clarified that EVMs used by state election commission for urban local body elections do not belong to Election Commission of India.

'NCP team expressed willingness to opt out requesting ECI should evolve system which clearly distinguishes ECI EVMs from State EC EVMs,' added Zaidi.

In fact, only two political parties NCP and CPI-M participated in the challenge.

However, the Communist Party of India came down heavily on the Election Commission over its "deplorable" move of not allowing it to witness EVM challenge. The CPI raised doubts about the EC's motive behind the "denial" and said the poll watchdog's "approach of secrecy to not allow the party" to witness the process was against spirit of its invitation letter seeking cooperation from political parties.

The EC, the CPI said, informed it about its stand that the party cannot observe the EVM challenge programme only yesterday. "Being a national party we wanted to witness the challenge. But surprisingly, it told us we cannot take part in the process, but only those parties which took part in the challenge

The EC continued with the EVM challenge after the Uttarakhand High Court on Firday evening rejected a plea which called for a stay claiming the Election Commission does not have the authority to conduct the event.

Rules of the EVM challenge:

Political parties will be given a four-hour slot to prove that EVMs can be tampered with.

The election commission made it clear that it will not allow circuits or machines from outside their headquarters.

It also maintained that change of internal circuits will also not be allowed.

The challenge will be open for four to five days, the CEC said.

Changing of EVM components like motherboard will not be allowed Representatives of the political parties can press any key WiFi, Bluetooth and any internet device can be used

The EVMs will have to be picked by from ECI's warehouse in Delhi at parties' own cost If a party fails to report at the alloted time without prior intimation, their challenge will be canceled

Each party can choose four EVMs from any four polling stations out of the five states where assembly elections were held.

If the EVM stops functioning during the challenge or if the challengers violate rules, the challenge will be struck down.

The Election Commission of India had threw open EVM challenge to political parties last month. Chief Election Commissioner of India Dr Nasim Zaidi said that starting June 3 state and national parties can attempt to hack, tamper or rig EVMs.

The EVM hackathon is a result of allegations of EVM rigging by AAP, Congress, BSP and other political parties. Following the five state Assembly elections, opposition parties had alleged that EVMs were rigged to give a favorable result to select political parties.

(With agency inputs)

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