Sam Pitroda raises questions on EVMs, asks political parties to consider boycotting polls with EVMs

Indian Overseas Congress Chairman Sam Pitroda with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. (IANS/Twitter:@INCIndia)

New Delhi, Dec 25 (IANS) With the defeats in the three Hindi heartland states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, technocrat and Indian Overseas Congress chairman Sam Pitroda has once again raised questions on the electronic voting machines (EVMs) saying that he will soon expose along with international experts on how it can be controlled as per one’s convenience and how interference is possible in that.

He also asked the political parties to launch protests against the EVMs and also think of boycotting polls.

Pitroda, who is also very close to former Congress president Rahul Gandhi said that EVMs can be controlled as per one’s convenience and interference.

Pitroda, who also worked closely with former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi said that the EVM machine currently being used in India is not a “stand alone machine”.

The IOC chairman said that the problem started when the VVPAT machine was linked with the EVMs.

“VVPAT is a separate device consisting of hardware and software,” he said, adding that a special connector is used to connect VVPAT to EVM, which is called SLU.

“This SLU raises many questions. The SLU connector itself shows in VVPAT that from which button vote goes to which party. It is programmed before voting,” Pitroda said.

The Congress leader said that after adding SLU, EVMs are no longer a stand alone machine.

β€œIn this, all kinds of works which are being talked about can be done. Therefore, we want that the slip issued from VVPAT is currently issued through a thermal printer and can be kept safe only for a few weeks, instead of that a printer should be used which will keep the slip safe for the next five years,” he said.

He said that the second point is that this slip should not be shown to the voter only for some time, but it should be printed on a paper and should be given to him, which he can cast as vote in a box kept separately and this box should not be connected to any electronic device.

“After that the vote slips inserted in the box should be counted,” he said, adding that technology experts in India and other parts of the world are saying that there is definitely some problem with EVMs, but the Election Commission of India and the Supreme Court are not paying attention to it.

Pitroda said that being a professional, he is saying that it is not necessary that rigging has been done, but he has “full suspicion that EVMs can be rigged”.

“I cannot accept that everything is fine with EVMs. A crisis of confidence has arisen regarding EVMs,” he said.

He also said that political parties should launch a protest against EVM.

“Signature campaign should be conducted. Awareness campaign should be run. If necessary, the youth should take to the streets and protest against this (EVMs). Political parties should also consider the option of boycotting elections using EVMs,” Pitroda said.

He also said that Rahul Gandhi is serious about the issue of EVMs. “I have discussed this with him. It is not possible to accept that without EVM tampering in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Rahul GAndhi lost the Lok Sabha elections from Amethi. I am planning to hold a press conference on EVM in front of national and international media along with technical experts soon,” he added.

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