The bogey of hacking of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) has resurfaced once again but this time around by a so-called cyber expert and former employee of the Electronic Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL) Syed Shuja with a series of unsubstantiated allegations about the vulnerability of EVMs used in India. ECIL manufactures EVMs in the country.
Let’s try to understand how the entire process of using EVMs work. Officials from the Election Commission of India (ECI) demonstrate EVMs to the representative of every political party well in advance with every detail, then on the day of an election, a mock drill is organised. Moreover, every EVM is separate and is not connected to each other. They are handed over to the person before properly checked and sealed. EVMs are put into use before representatives of the political parties and officials.
This is to tell further that names of different political parties in various constituencies are different in EVMs. There are at least 7-8 people in one room beside the returning officer where voting is happening on the EVM. This exercise is done at around 9.30 lakh polling booths across the country and the entire election commission is involved in the process. So doubting EVMs and the process of voting is actually doubting the integrity of people involved in the election process. They are not only the government officials but your own people.
Interestingly, the person accusing EVMs were rigged in the 2014 general election claimed that around 200 seats in the 2014 elections, that could have been won by the Congress, were rigged in favour of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) by manipulating data transmission through what he called ‘military-grade modulators’ installed in various parts of the country. However, he failed to provide any proof for it but the most important question is that what the Central government was doing when so-called rigging happened.
It is ridiculous to say that rigging had happened in 2014 as the Congress was ruling at the Centre. Moreover, the BJP did well in such states where the party was not in the government including Uttar Pradesh. Presence of Congress leader Kapil Sibal at the time of the conference also raises doubts if the entire matter was orchestrated by the Congress itself in desperation to malign the image of the BJP with the help of falsehood as in the case of Rafale, non-existent loan waiver to 15 industrialists and now EVM hacking. If Congress feels that people are so naive that they will accept any garbage then they are wrong.
Experts on the issue have been of the view that machines were not networked ruling out hacking. Moreover, there is no set pattern as in every machine BJP and any other political party is not at any fixed place. It seems like everyone is a BJP worker from district election officer to booth in-charge.
Election Commission of India had asked political parties to try hacking but none of the political parties had turned up including the Congress. As far as the recent case is concerned the ECI reiterated that EVMs are ‘foolproof’ and that it was examining what legal action “can and should be taken in the matter.”
The so-called hacker also alleged that senior BJP leader and former Union minister Gopinath Munde was murdered because he was about to expose the malpractice. He also alleged that journalist Gauri Lankesh was killed because she was about to publish details of the EVMs being hacked. But the doctor in the board who had looked after the postmortem of Munde had something else to say. So it is better for Congress to contest an election in the right manner instead of working on a conspiracy angle. Also, the Congress must stop sullying country’s image outside India.
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