Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal lashed out the Election Commission on Monday over the tampering of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) during assembly elections saying the poll panel was "making a mockery of the law" and the democracy in India was "under threat."
Kejriwal said the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) could prove the EVMs are being tampered with using sophisticated software. He added that "an intentional bug has been added to the machine" and that it could not be a "malfunction." "We urge the Election Commission to reveal the EVM software to the country," the Aam Aadmi Party chief said at a press conference.
Kejriwal also alleged that all EVMs that will be used in the upcoming Delhi civic elections and bypolls across the country are being brought in from Uttar Pradesh. "There are a lot of machines in India, then why are machines coming from UP? 300 EVMs were brought in from Govind Nagar from UP for Madhya Pradesh bypolls. Technically, EVMs can't be used or shifted 45 days from poll results. So what was the Election Commission's compulsion?" the Delhi CM said.
Kejriwal also spoke about the recent trial of the VVPAT machines in Madhya Pradesh where a paper trail for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was left after each vote was cast. The EC also suspended three SHOs over the incident. Kejriwal added that he could prove within 72 hours that EVMs can be tampered with and asked the poll panel to release the machines for investigation.
Kejriwal also said the paper ballots were the only solution to the problem. "Countries all over the world have rejected the use of EVMs during elections due to the possible problem of tampering. Many countries have resorted to paper ballots," the Delhi CM said.
He added that the Indian democracy was "under threat" as people would lose trust in the election process if EVMs continued to be used and tampered with during polls. "It is dangerous for the whole country. People are asking me why should we even vote if our votes aren't counted. Democracy is under threat," Kejriwal said.
EC to AAP: Introspect on why you lost
The EC on Sunday strongly reacted to Kejriwal's allegations and said the party should introspect on why it lost the elections in Punjab instead of questioning the reliability of EVMs.
The poll panel added that AAP could also file an election petition in the High Court if it wished to verify the number of votes that were cast in the recently concluded polls with data from the paper trail.
The EC, further adding that the "integrity of electoral process is fully preserved," said the "commission has put in place an elaborate technical and administrative system of safeguards to ensure error-free functioning of EVMs in elections. It is for your party to introspect as to why your party could not perform as per your expectations and it is unfair on the part of your party to attribute unsatisfactory poll performance of your party to the alleged tamperability of EVMs."
The poll panel also said the "commission is fully satisfied with the tamper proof functioning of the ECI-EVMs."