The Election Commission on May 9 rejected the claim of the Aam Aadmi Party that its Electronic Voting Machines can be hacked, saying the machine hacked in the Delhi assembly was a “look-alike” gadget and not an actual equipment used by it.
“It is common sense that gadgets other than ECI-EVMs can be programmed to perform in a pre-determined way, but it simply cannot be implied that ECI-EVMs will behave in the same manner because they are technically secured and function under an elaborate administrative and security protocol,” the Commission said in a statement.
The “so-called” demonstration on “extraneous and duplicate gadgets” which are not owned by the EC “cannot be exploited to influence our intelligent citizens and electorate to assail or vilify the EVMs used by the Commission in its electoral process, it added.
Earlier today, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had dared the EC to provide an electronic voting machine (EVM) to the AAP, claiming it can be tampered with in ’90 seconds’ flat.
Later during a day-long special sitting of the Delhi Assembly, AAP MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj put on a “live demonstration” on how EVMs can be programmed “to favour” any political party.
Earlier in the day, the AAP today “demonstrated” ways to “rig EVMs” in the Delhi Assembly, which the BJP said was an attempt to divert attention from charges of “bribery” against Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
The AAP’s attempt to whip up the issue comes at a time the party is in the eye of a political firestorm over its sacked minister Kapil Mishra’s allegations of corruption against Kejriwal and minister Satyendar Jain.
On his part, Mishra, who was suspended from AAP’s primary membership yesterday, mocked it saying the party should stop living in “denial” and accept the fact that people do not vote for Kejriwal anymore.
Participating in a discussion on the issue during the day-long special session of the Delhi Assembly, AAP MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj claimed that a voting machine can be manipulated by simply feeding it with a “secret code”.
He demonstrated how it can be done using, what party sources said was, a “prototype EVM” developed by a “a group of IITians”.
The Election Commission, which maintains that EVMs cannot be programmed to favour any party, did not officially react.
However, sources said the machine “did not” seem to be among the ones that are used during elections.
“It was a drama enacted by the AAP to divert attention of the public from the allegations of bribery and forgery in funding,” Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari said.
Interestingly, leaders of the Congress, the Trinamool Congress, the Janata Dal (United) and the Rastriya Janata Dal were present on the gallery of the House when Bhardwaj staged the demonstration.
Before Bhardwaj’s demonstration, Kejriwal tweeted, “Saurabh Bhardwaj will reveal the truth behind a big conspiracy in the country. Satyameva Jayate”.
Bhardwaj, who represents the Greater Kailash constituency, claimed that in his capacity as an engineer, he had extensively worked in this area and was aware of how the machines can be fiddled with.
After entering a “secret code”, Bhardwaj pressed 10 votes for the AAP in the machine used for the purpose of demonstration. Later, in the display panel, it turned out that the votes went to the BJP.
“We are not making baseless allegations on EVM manipulation. With this demonstration, it has been proved that EVMs can actually be hacked,” Bhardwaj said.
“EVM manipulation is a very serious issue. It is a danger to the democracy of the country. There is no machine in the world which cannot be hacked,” the AAP MLA claimed.
Kejriwal has repeatedly claimed that the AAP’s poll debacles have something to do with tampering of EVMs. The issue threatened to split the party with a section refusing to toe the line taken by him.