Just hours after the Election Commission dismissed Aam Aadmi Party's request for verification of votes cast using electronic voting machines (EVM) in Punjab assembly elections, the party slammed the election watchdog's statement terming it as unfortunate.
The EC had released a statement on Sunday asking AAP to file an election petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court if it wanted to verify the votes cast in the Punjab assembly polls with the paper trail data.
The party claimed that the alleged EVM malfunctioning incident in Madhya Pradesh's Bhind district, where the VVPAT-enabled electronic voting machines printed the BJP's poll symbol irrespective of the button pressed during a mock trial, had made it clear that the EVMs were not tamper-proof.
"It is unfortunate that instead of taking due action, the EC is issuing political statements on the issue of EVM tampering... "The incident (of Bhind) shook the faith of millions of Indian voters in the impartiality of the EC and the entire process of elections using EVMs," AAP said in a statement.
This came in response to the EC's letter in which the poll watchdog said it was for the AAP "to introspect as to why your party could not perform as per your expectations and it is unfair on your part to attribute unsatisfactory poll performance of your party to the alleged tamperability of EVMs". "The incident of Bhind has shown that the EC has completely failed in its duty to protect the EVMs and the integrity of the election process and therefore, failed in fulfilling its constitutional obligation of conducting free and fair elections," the AAP said, urging the commission to take immediate action in this regard.
"Turning a blind eye to the shocking reports trickling in from Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab and now Madhya Pradesh would serve no purpose and would only erode the credibility of the EC," it added.
The poll watchdog said after the declaration of election results, the only option available to verify the data of votes cast is filing an election petition before the High Court concerned.
The AAP had alleged that the poll authorities in Punjab had refused to accept its demand to tally the election results with paper trail audit. The party had moved the EC over the reliability of EVMs and the results of the recently-concluded Punjab polls. The AAP won 20 of the 117 seats in the Punjab polls. The Congress won 77 seats to wrest power from the SAD-BJP combine.