Only NCP And CPI-M To Participate In EVM Challenge, AAP And Congress Want Changes

Friday was the deadline for political parties to nominate representatives for the challenge. Only eight parties responded.

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Only NCP And CPI-M To Participate In EVM Challenge, AAP And Congress Want Changes

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Friday was the deadline for political parties to nominate representatives for the challenge.

New Delhi:  Only Left party CPI(M) and Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party will participate in the Election Commission's challenge to hack an electronic voting machine or EVM next week. Lalu Yadav's RJD made a last-minute dash to confirm participation, but its application was rejected by the poll panel as it reached 39 minutes after the 5 pm deadline on Friday.

The BJP, Left party CPI and the Rashtriya Lok Dal have said they would like to observe the hackathon, which is scheduled between 10 am and 2 pm on June 3. Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party and the Congress have said they will not participate, demanding that the EC change its rules, which say that the participants will not get access to the EVM's motherboard, they can bring along only wireless devices and no tools, and can only touch buttons.

"This is not a hackathon. Why participate in a drama," Aam Aadmi Party's Delhi convenor Gopal Rai said on Friday, adding that the party will "not accept the EVM challenge in its present context". Delhi's ruling party, one of the most aggressive in alleging that EVM's have been manipulated in recent elections, asked why the poll panel was "running away" from organising a no-holds-barred hackathon as promised.

AAP wanted to be allowed to attempt changing the motherboard of a vote machine during the challenge, which the EC turned down. Mr Rai said the party had made its request again in a letter for an "open hackathon," but it rejected.

The AAP leader said there should be "no rules and regulations" in a hackathon in which hackers are invited to test the security of any system using any available tool. "Such ethical hacking is to help understand the loopholes. What the EC is offering is only a visual inspection," Mr Rai said.

The Election Commission, which maintains that its machines are tamper-proof, had announced on Saturday that the challenge to hack an EVM would take place on June 3 and that seven recognised national parties and 49 state parties could apply. The EVM challenge will be webcast live by the Election Commission.

Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party, the first to allege that EVMs were rigged in the Uttar Pradesh Elections to aid the BJP's massive sweep of the state. Mayawati's BSP came a poor third. The party has not responded at all to the Election Commission's invitation.

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