Dubbing the June 3 EVM challenge of the Election Commission as "too restrictive", the CPI-M on Sunday called for regular discussions between the poll panel and various political parties on the design choices of the voting machines. The party also asserted that such challenges and counter-challenges were not conducive to the building of confidence in the electoral process in the country.
"If the EC exercise was for increasing confidence of political parties in the EVMs, it was too restrictive," the Communist Party of India-Marxist said in a statement here. "The challenge, counter-challenge and hackathons - as is being done by certain parties and the EC - builds an adversarial atmosphere that is not conducive to building confidence in the electoral process," it added.
"While we can accept EC's contention that EVM hardware should not be changed, as this will make it a different machine, we are unable to appreciate why a physical examination of the EVM should not have included attaching instruments and generating a better understanding of EVM and its communication within its various sub-units," it said. During the EVM challenge, a technical team of the CPI-M wanted to attach hardware probes to the EVM motherboard to develop a better understanding of and a potential for hacking of the EVM.
"The EC disallowed this request. Under such restrictive conditions, the team was unable to make an independent assessment of the Electronic Voting Machines, and hence suggest technical improvements or other safeguards," it said. The CPI-M team held detailed technical discussions with the poll panel's technical expert committee where it was informed about how it has addressed various concerns regarding the EVM.
"Prima facie, these are robust precautions, but without a detailed technical examination, as asked for by the CPI-M's technical team, this remains to be independently verified," the Left party said. "The CPI-M believes that technical discussions between the EC, political parties and other stakeholders on current and future EVM design choices should be held on a regular basis.