EVM 'hackathon' challenge: NCP, CPM didn't participate, but understood the process, says EC

The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the only two parties that agreed to accept the Election Commission's EVM challenge, did not take part in the test to prove the reliability of electronic voting machines (EVMs). The former expressed satisfaction after a demonstration and the latter treated it as an academic exercise.

EVM demonstration during the hackathon. News18

EVM demonstration during the hackathon. News18

Briefing reporters after the EVM challenge, Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi said that the issue of "tamperability of machines" should be closed with the end of the challenge.

"The machines are not tamperable. The issue of tamperability of machines should be closed with this," Zaidi said.

He said the challenge should not be seen in terms of victory or defeat. "It was a mutual learning exercise," he added.

Zaidi said the CPM members were given a detailed demonstration by the commission about EVMs and they were "satisfied".

"The CPM said they do not want to participate in the challenge but want to understand the EVM process. A detailed demonstration was given to them. Technical doubts were clarified," he said.

"They [NCP and CPM members] also expressed desire to interact with the Technical Experts Committee (TEC) and had a detailed doubt clearing session in which in depth technical doubts were clarified by TEC of the commission," read the Election Commission's press release.

Zaidi said CPM members expressed "complete satisfaction" and suggested that the poll panel should hold such demonstrations and awareness sessions proactively.

The NCP members conveyed that they were keen to treat the challenge as an "academic exercise," he said.

NCP members conveyed that the main reason for their apprehension was the problems with the voting machines used in the municipal polls in Maharashtra, he added. They were, however, told that the machines used in the municipal polls did not belong to the Election Commission.

The poll panel had released the challenge framework on 20 May following allegations by some Opposition parties of large-scale tampering of EVMS after the results of Assembly polls to five states held in February-March and the Delhi civic polls were announced.

The Election Commission's press release also cited a judgement by the Uttarakhand high court. The judgement had said, "EVMs are not hackable. There cannot be any manipulation at manufacturing stage. The results cannot be altered by activating a trojan horse through a sequence of key presses. The Election Commission EVMs cannot be physically tampered with. The EVMs use some of the most sophisticated technological features like One Time Programmable (OTP) microcontrollers, dynamic coding of key codes, date and time stamping of each and every key press etc. These EVMs also cannot be tampered with during the course of transportation or at the place of storage. There are checks and balances to ensure tamper-proofing of EVMs."

The Aam Aadmi Party has announced its own parallel EVM hackathon after it did not agree to the stipulations laid down by the EC.

The Election Commission has already announced that future elections will be held using VVPAT.

With inputs from IANS

Updated Date: Jun 03, 2017 20:07 PM

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