NCP, CPI(M) did not participate in EVM challenge, says CEC Nasim Zaidi
The CPI(M) and NCP, the only two parties that agreed to accept the Election Commission's EVM challenge, on Saturday did not take part in the test to prove the reliability of electronic voting machines (EVMs), with the former expressing satisfaction after a demo and the latter treating it as an academic exercise.
Briefing reporters after the EVM challenge, Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi said the issue of ‘tamperability of machines should be closed with the end of the challenge’.
"The machines are not tamperable. The issue tamperability of machines should be closed with this and with VVPAT (Voter verified paper audit trail)," Zaidi said.
He said that the challenge should not be seen in terms of victory or defeat. "It was a mutually learning exercise," he said.
Zaidi said the Communist Party of India-Marxist members were given a detailed demonstration by the commission about EVMs and they were "satisfied".
"The CPI-M 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.
Zaidi said CPI-M members expressed "complete satisfaction" and suggested that the poll panel should hold such demonstrations and awareness sessions pro-actively.
The Nationalist Congress Party members conveyed that they were keen to treat the challenge as an "academic exercise", he said.
He said that NCP members conveyed that the main reason for their apprehension was over the voting machines used in the municipal polls in Maharashtra.
Zaidi said the NCP members were 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 May 20 following allegations by some opposition parties of large-scale tampering of EVMS over the results of assembly polls to five states held in February-March and the Delhi civic polls.
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 NCP and CPI-M had nominated three representatives each for the challenge.
The Election Commission has already announced that future elections will be held using VVPAT.