EC should address EVM concerns: Congress

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New Delhi, Jan 22 (IANS) The Congress on Tuesday rejected the BJP’s charges of “sponsoring” Monday’s controversial hackathon in London on EVMs and said that opposition parties for the last two-and-half years have persistently been raising the issue of tampering of the electronic voting machines but the EC has refused to resolve it.

Addressing the media here, Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma stood by the opposition’s collective demand for returning to the ballot paper voting system and said the EC should address all EVM concerns.

He also demanded that 50 per cent of the VVPATs should be verified in all constituencies.

Referring to a host of opposition parties, including the Congress, demanding the EC in August 2018 to return to paper ballots for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Sharma said his party continues to endorse the demand but citing time constraints, the EC must ensure verifying 50 per cent of VVPATs with the paper trails instead of the now 10 per cent.

“It was not a Congress sponsored press conference, but then the issues raised are legitimate something which all the opposition parties have been raising for the last two-and-half years,” said Sharma in response to Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad allegations that the claims made by US-based self-claimed cyber expert Syed Shuja of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections were rigged and the EVMs can be hacked, were “Congress sponsored”.

Sharma, however, parried queries about the presence of Congress leader Kapil Sibal at the London event, saying it was for him to answer that.

On the issue of EVM tampering and hacking, Sharma said that most of western countries have gone back to using ballot papers, adding that the EC must look towards resolving the concerns raised regarding the EVMs.

“We had collectively given a memorandum to the EC but unfortunately our very legitimate concerns were not addressed. The Supreme Court also ruled out return to paper ballot. But our demand remains.

“At the same time since that demand may not be fulfilled in this elections, nevertheless, it is the constitutional responsibility of the EC to address the concerns of the entire opposition. We demand that that at least 50 per VVPATs should be verified with the paper trails in all parliamentary constituencies,” said the former union minister.



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