EVM Software Developer Decide Elections: Digvijaya
Raising fresh questions on the veracity and integrity of electronic voting machines, senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh on Wednesday said if a software could decide or alter electoral outcomes, then it is the software developer and installer, and not voters, who should be deemed the final arbiter of elections.
Quoting from the reply of the Election Commission to a query filed under RTI, the former Madhya Pradesh chief minister said, “There is no information on the authenticity of EVMs. The Election Commission, itself, has admitted that it doesn’t have a tech team and all its operations and functionalities are in the hands of private people. These private persons could be from the country or abroad. There is no mention or clarity on who installs the software (in the EVMs). If a software can change or influence our votes, then it is the software developer or installer, and not the people, who should be seen as the one deciding the outcome of elections.”
“The person installing the software, the software developer, is the one who will form the next government (at the Centre). Should we then hand over the fates of over 90 crore voters in the country and those vying to be their representatives to a few software developers and installers? As things stand, neither the voters and the Election Commission nor the returning officers or government officials are the masters of the electoral process. Only the software developer or installer is,” the veteran Congress leader said.
Earlier this month, Congress general secretary, Communications, Jairam Ramesh claimed there were serious concerns around Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) and Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) not just for the INDIA bloc partners but all parties.
“I have received the ECI’s response to my letter of December 30th, 2023 sent on behalf of the INDIA parties. I had made an express request for an appointment for the INDIA Party leaders with the Commission. I even specified the agenda for appointment discussion and suggestions on the usage of VVPATs for upcoming (Lok Sabha) elections,” Ramesh said.
Seeking a meeting between top EC officials and a “small delegation of the INDIA bloc” to “listen to what it has to say on the issue of VVPATs”, Ramesh said the poll body “yet again failed” to provide a “substantive response” to their queries and genuine concerns on EVMs.
“It is also surprising to note that the Commission has been taking refuge behind judicial orders while also reminding us that Public Interest Litigations filed on the issue of EVMs and VVPATs have been dismissed with monetary costs. Be that as it may, these litigations have no bearing on the queries raised,” the Congress leader added.
He claimed that the Commission is “aware that the pendency of any judicial proceedings pertaining to VVPATS does not bar the Commission from discussing or hearing the suggestions of INDIA parties”.
On January 5, the EC refuted Ramesh’s allegations on VVPATs and EVMs, saying that it was firm in its assertion that literature in the public domain on EVMs, including the latest updated FAQs (85 Questions), answers all reasonable and legitimate aspects of the use of such devices adequately and comprehensively.
“The current letter dated 30th December 2023, said to be in sequence of the earlier letters, has no new assertions or reasonable and legitimate doubts which require further clarifications,” the Commission stated in response to Ramesh’s letter.
On January 2, the former Union minister wrote to the EC seeking an appointment for a delegation of INDIA bloc leaders to discuss concerns around VVPATs. (ANI)
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