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  India   Politics  24 Mar 2017  Government junks EVM tampering claim

Government junks EVM tampering claim

Published : Mar 24, 2017, 12:44 am IST
Updated : Mar 24, 2017, 6:20 am IST

The minister’s comments came while replying to a debate on electoral reforms in the Rajya Sabha.

Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad (Photo: PTI/File)
 Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad (Photo: PTI/File)

New Delhi: Union law and justice minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday rubbished claims about EVM tampering even as it promised all support to the Election Commission’s endeavour of maximising the use of voting machines with paper trail, but in a phased-manner.

The minister’s comments came while replying to a debate on electoral reforms in the Rajya Sabha. He slammed parties like the BSP, the SP and the Congress for raising questions over the EVMs against the backdrop of their defeat in the recent Uttar Pradesh polls. “If you win, then the EVMs are fine, but if you lose, then the EVMs are tampered. Wow! This is a great logic,” he said. He cited their poll victories earlier and asked why such questions over EVMs were not raised then.

Mr Prasad, however, did not give a direct response to questions by the Opposition with regard to Rs 3,000 crore sought by the EC for having poll machines with paper trail adequate enough for the entire country. The Congress, the SP, the BSP and the Left MPs staged a walkout, expressing dissatisfaction over the minister’s reply.

Mr Prasad said these three parties had not been defeated by the EVMs but had been rejected by the people and they should accept this fact.  The EVMs are “completely safe”, he asserted.

Targeting the BSP whose chief Mayawati has been in the forefront of raising questions over the EVMs, he said, “Had they (BSP) convinced the people, they would have not lost elections so badly with 19 seats.”

On the issue of EVMs with paper trail or Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT), the minister said the EC and even the courts were of the view that machines should be used in a phased manner.  VVPATs have already been used on experimental basis in a number of polling booths, including during the recent elections.

“The EC is the best judge on this issue. The government does not want to intervene. But if any assistance is required the government is available,” the minister said.

He said logistical issues are involved in implementing VVPATs across the country in one go.

The Opposition members wanted to know why the government had not released funds to EC for these machines. “When the government does not give money, how can it be implemented in a phased manner?” said leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad.

“Since 2014 elections, you have stopped funds. How machines will be installed? If you cannot ensure security of machines, how can you ensure security of the nation? How can we believe you? They don’t want to do. They want to win elections by cheating,” he added.

Citing advantages of EVMs, the Law Minister said that use of these machines has reduced the incidents of booth capturing, which used to be widely prevalent earlier in all states.

Tags: ravi shankar prasad, election commission, evm tampering
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi