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EVMs not tampered with, says Siddaramaiah after Karnataka bypoll victory

LiveMint logoLiveMint 13-04-2017 PTI

Bengaluru: The Congress may be sceptical and carping about the vulnerability of electronic voting machines (EVMs) to tampering, but for chief minister Siddaramaiah, it is not an issue, at least in Karnataka.

“We cannot say tampering (with EVMs) has taken place in these elections,” he said, bayed by the victory of the Congress candidates in the Nanjangud and Gundlupet Assembly by-polls, in which the party retained both the seats in spite of a tough fight by the BJP. His party had only spoken about the “scope” for tampering, Siddaramaiah said when asked about his stand on EVMs in the light of the outcome of the by-polls.

The chief minister said he had asked the party candidates and agents to ensure that the EVMs were thoroughly checked and also told the officials to educate the voters about them. Siddaramaiah said he was told that the EVMs used in the two by-polls had Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT).

His remarks come against the backdrop of a campaign launched by the Congress-led opposition on alleged EVM tampering after a string of defeats in the Assembly polls, including in Uttar Pradesh where the party was decimated.

Also Read: Bypoll results 2017: BJP wins 5 seats, Congress wins 2 in Karnataka, 1 in MP

Ratcheting up pressure on the Election Commission, the Congress had also led an opposition delegation to President Pranab Mukherjee and taken up the issue of alleged EVM tampering with him, noting that it raised bona fide concerns on the possibility of manipulating electoral outcomes.

The Congress wants a return of the old ballot paper system but there are divisions within the party on the issue. Former Union minister M Veerappa Moily reportedly said in an interview that by questioning the reliability of EVMs, the Congress was displaying a “defeatist” mindset. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh too has toed a different line from that of his party and is quoted to have said, “If the EVMs were fixed, I wouldn’t be sitting here. The Akalis would be.”

The EC has thrown a gauntlet at the political parties challenging the EVMs, daring them to try to hack the machines and show that they can be tampered with. “From the first week of May, experts, scientists, technocrats can come for a week or 10 days.

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