Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party held a nearly 1-hour demonstration today to prove its claim that Electronic Voting Machines or EVMs can be hacked. The party was cryptic about where it got the machine that it used in the Delhi Assembly today -it’s illegal to have custody of the gadgets that are used in elections.
If the party dares, let it participate in the hackathon that will be held at the end of May, said sources at the powerful Election Commission, which has been accused by Mr Kejriwal of colluding to help the BJP score one win after another. The sources, who asked not to be named, implied that the machine used for today’s exhibit was not the real thing and that when confronted with a genuine voting machine, Mr Kejriwal’s party will fail at proving that it can be gamed.
By presenting its lengthy show-and-tell in the Delhi Assembly, the Aam Aadmi Party has sought cover in protection from prosecution; its leaders say they cannot face legal action for statements made or actions taken in the legislature.
The Election Commission has called a meeting of all parties on Friday at its Delhi headquarters to address complaints about voting machines made by not just Mr Kejriwal but the Congress and regional players like Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress.
When Mr Kejriwal failed to secure Punjab in the February election despite a high-energy and length campaign, he blamed rigged machines. The Election Commission has resolutely held that the processes it follows guarantee that the machines cannot be manipulated, but other parties echoed Mr Kejriwal. The Congress was selective in its accusations, omitting any mention of Punjab where it won the election, while alleging machine-tampering in states that it lost.
Election Commission sources a few weeks ago said a hackathon would be held in the first week of May, then revised the plan for the end of the month, but have still to make a formal announcement confirming the dates and arrangements for the exercise that will allow techies and representatives of political parties to attempt fixing the machines.