- EVM allegedly produces slips for BJP no matter which button pressed
- Local election officer rejects charges, poll commission seeks report
- Opposition brings back allegations of EVM tampering in last elections
The Election Commission of India has sought a detailed report from Bhind's District Election Officer after seeing the video of a demonstration organised by state election officials for journalists ahead of by-elections in the state's two assembly seats. It has also sent a high-level team to the state to investigate.
Chief Electoral Officer Shalina Singh later told reporters that they wanted to show how the VVPAT - Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail - would let voters know if the machine voted for the different candidate than the one selected by the candidate. She also rejected claims that the machine voted for the BJP on both occasions.
But the opposition that has been raising questions on the EVMs weren't clearly satisfied.
VVPAT is a machine which dispenses a slip with the party's symbol for which a person has voted for. The slip is visible for seven seconds before it drops in a box.
The Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party rushed to the Election Commission's in Delhi, tasking the party's senior leaders to reiterate their concerns with the poll panel that has, in the past, dismissed questions about the neutrality of the machine.
BSP chief Mayawati was the first to question the EVMs after the BJP's massive win in the assembly elections that installed Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh. Other opposition parties soon joined in, right from AAP's Arvind Kejriwal who had hoped to come to power in Punjab and the Samajwadi Party that was reduced to double digits in the country's most populous state to the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal.
Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia said the doubts raised on the EVMs must be investigated. Mr Scindia, who along with party general secretary Digvijaya Singh had approached the panel, said the EC had assured they would take steps.
The Congress general secretary said EVMs should not be used for elections. "From Advani to Mayawati to Kejriwal, I stand with them on this," Mr Singh, otherwise a bitter critic of Mr Kejriwal, said. BJP veteran LK Advani had raised doubts about the possibility of EVMs malfunctioning after the 2009 elections.
Mr Kejriwal too landed at the commission soon after. The Madhya Pradesh example, where the machine allegedly voted for the BJP irrespective of the candidate selected, was another such example where machines only voted for one party. "If it was because of a fault, why is it that the faulty machines only vote for BJP... why not the Congress or the Samajwadi Party," he asked.