Congress leader Veerappa Moily has defended use of EVM (file photo)
Former law minister and senior Congress leader Veerappa Moily is in the headlines for his staunch defence of the EVM or electronic voting machine after his party joined other opposition parties to petition the Election Commission against the machines.
Mr Moily, who is representing the Congress today at a meeting of opposition parties to discuss their worry that EVMs have been rigged in recent assembly elections, said he favoured updating technology and an investigation by a "high powered committee into the allegations," but "there is no question of going manually, it's not a progressive step. I don't think we should go back."
Opposition parties have alleged that EVMs were manipulated to favour the BJP in the Uttar Pradesh elections, which the party swept winning 325 of 403 seats along with its allies. They have demanded that the use of EVMs be discontinued and ballot paper be used again for voting in assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh later this year.
"We are censoring our own system. EVMs were launched when we were in power," Mr Moily told NDTV today, standing by his comment that blaming EVMs for electoral losses was "defeatist." He said concerns about EVMs had been raised even when the Congress was in power, and the machines had been tested.
The Election Commission has said EVMs cannot be configured for cheating, but the growing set of anti-EVM parties have demanded proof of their reliability. "In recent times, people's faith in electronic voting machines (EVM) have eroded and that's why the Commission should revert back to ballot papers," senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said after the opposition met the Election Commission on Tuesday.
The Congress highlighted the result in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, both states swept by the BJP as problematic because of EVMs, but did not mention Punjab, the lone state that it has won in recent years.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has demanded that local elections in Delhi this month be held with ballot paper saying he suspects EVM manipulation in Punjab, where his Aam Aadmi Party placed a distant second. Mr Kejriwal was not invited to be a part of the opposition delegation that met the Election Commission because he alleged that the Punjab result was manipulated.