- Poll body fixes June 3 for open challenge to political parties on EVMs
- Aam Aadmi Party renews its demand for a hackathon
- Election Commission statement refers to demands from 'certain naysayers'
The party that has been the loudest critic of the EVM's reliability hasn't announced yet if it will pick the gauntlet on the Election Commission's terms or skip the event.
But in tweets, the first one even as Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi was speaking, AAP made it clear that there was nothing to cheer.
"Sir, u never provided the machines pl," Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal tweeted, a response to Mr Zaidi asserting that the poll body had not come across any credible material to hint that any voting machine had been tampered with in the five state assembly elections conducted this year.
The election panel said announced the challenge would start on June 3, and could go on for 4-5 days, depending on the response from political parties.
AAP's Sanjay Singh, who had reiterated the demand for an opportunity to hack the machines hours earlier, took over from there. He said the set of guidelines laid down by the election body were akin to throwing a person into sea after tying his hands and expecting him to swim. "Are the people who tamper EVMs going to take guidelines from the Election Commission," he said, demanding a hackathon where people are free to break into a machine.
AAP has insisted that they could hack into a real EVM, just as they made an EVM lookalike vote the way they wanted during the demonstration in Delhi Assembly last month.
A 19-page Election Commission statement released after Mr Zaidi's briefing referred to this demand, from "certain naysayers".
"This is like saying that they should be permitted to manufacture a new machine and introduce their new EVMs in our system," the commission said, pointing that it was "common knowledge that changing the 'internal circuit' of any electronic device is like changing the whole device itself".
It went on: "As any person with common sense will be able to appreciate... an EVM with a different 'internal circuit' is simply a different machine... and can never be guaranteed by ECI to give correct results."
"Such a scenario is completely ruled out within our administrative safeguards and that's why it is not proposed in the challenge," the statement said, explaining the reasons for its ground rules.
In his unusually detailed briefing that went on for nearly two hours, Mr Zaidi had explained that there were enough safeguards built into the commission's processes that did not leave any opportunity for unauthorised access to an EVM.