The opposition has launched a united attack on the Election Commission over the use of Electronic Voting Machines, pointing out that several nations have gone back to ballot paper in view of the shortcomings of EVMS. The 20-plus parties -- which met in Delhi days after the first phase of the national elections -- said they wanted 50 per cent EVMs be verified against Voter Verified Paper Trail machines.
"We are raising doubts about the EVMs. The confidence of the voter can only be restored through paper trail machines," Chandrababu Naidu, a key intrelocuter of the opposition, told the media.
"Even advanced countries like Germany - they have gone for EVMs - used between 2005-09, and again they have gone for paper ballot. The Netherlands in 1990-2007, and again they have changed for paper ballot. Ireland - between 2002 and 04, and then they have gone for paper ballot. they made it clear why they have gone back to paper ballot," he added.
Elections in Mr Naidu's Andhra Pradesh for both Lok Sabha and the state assembly were held in the first phase on Thursday.
Amid widespread complaints from the state on EVM malfunction, Mr Naidu had called the election "a big confusion, big mess, big farce" and demanded a re-election on 150 seats.
As per "official information" 4,583 EVMs got stuck in the state, he had said. After the Deputy Election Commissioner's clarification that there was no problem with the EVMs in Andhra Pradesh, he had even attacked the Election Commission.
"I have never seen such an insensitive, unrealistic, irresponsible and useless Election Commission. Do you make a mockery of democracy? The EC has turned into BJP branch office," said the TDP chief, who has been locked in a battle with arch-rival Jaganmohan Reddy of the YSR Congress for the 175 state assembly seats.
The party has pressed into service Hari Prasad Vemuru to show how EVMs can be tinkered with to favour a particular party. The Election Commission said Mr Vemuru was accused of stealing an EVM in 2010.
EVMs, Mr Naidu said today, can be manipulated and hacked through remotely altered control unit display, memory manipulation, replaced micro controller or memory chips or altered software code.
"If you can see your cell phones, every 6 months you are changing because technology is changing. For the last many years the same EVMs. We are investing Rs 9,000 crore on VVPAT," he added.