With 2019 Lok Sabha Elections just a few months away, the Indian Journalists' Association (Europe) on Monday organised an event in London to demonstrate how electronic voting machines (EVM) can be hacked during polls. Meanwhile, in a dramatic turn of event, Syed Shuja, a cyber expert from the United States claimed that the Lok Sabha Elections 2014 in India were rigged. Shuja is a part of the team, which designed Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) used in India.
Addressing a press conference via video conference, Shuja made several explosive allegations regarding EVM tampering during 2014 Lok Sabha Elections and several state Assembly polls including that of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and others. The unprecedented event also marked the attendance of Congress leader Kapil Sibal.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Samajwadi Party (SP), the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) too approached him to know if EVMs could be hacked, Syed went on to claim further.
Meanwhile, reacting strongly to such freakish claims, the Election Commission of India (ECI) said it "firmly stands by the empirical facts about foolproof nature of ECI EVMs deployed in elections in India" and that it is "wary of becoming a party to this motivated slugfest".
The commission also reiterated that EVMs used in Indian elections are manufactured in Bharat Electronics Ltd and Electronics Corporation of India Ltd under "very strict supervisory and security conditions". "There are rigorous Standard Operating Procedures observed under the supervision of a Committee of technical experts constituted in 2010," it added.
The commission will also examine as to what legal action should be taken in response to the claims made at the London event today. "It is being separately examined as to what legal action can and should be taken in the matter," the statement issued by the Election Commission read.
Election Commission: It has come to our notice that an event claiming to demonstrate EVMs used by ECI can be tampered with,has been organised in London. ECI has been wary of becoming a party to this motivated slugfest & stands by empirical facts about foolproof nature of ECI EVMs pic.twitter.com/bACXaDfzqN— ANI (@ANI) January 21, 2019
In a veiled attack at the Congress, Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the Congress has a lot of freelancers, who sometimes reach even Pak to take help for removing Modi Ji. They are making a hacking horror show of their possible defeat in the upcoming elections. "Kapil Sibal did not go by accident. He was sent by Congress, by Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi," Naqvi added.
Union Minister Arun Jaitley came out all guns blazing at the Congress, saying after Rafale, the non-existent loan waiver to 15 industrialists, the next big lie is EVM hacking.
"People are more intelligent than what politicians may think. They never choose chaos as an option. Aspirational society never commits collective suicide as they do not suffer from Lemming Syndrome. People want a 5 Year Government, not a 6 Month one," Jaitley wrote.
"Was the Election Commission and millions of Staffers involved in manufacturing, programming of EVMs & conduct of elections during the UPA Government in collusion with the BJP – absolutely rubbish," the finance minister added.
After Rafale, the non-existent loan waiver to 15 industrialists – the next big lie – EVM hacking.— Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) January 21, 2019
"Does the Congress feel that the people are so gullible that they will swallow any garbage? Insanity in the Congress party is increasingly becoming contagious," Jaitley reiterated in a series of tweets.
Early in the day, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, following the reports of EVM hacking in General and Assembly elections, said the opposition will take up with Election Commission the claims made by the expert.
Taking to Twitter, the Trinamool Congress chief wrote, "Our great democracy must be protected. Every vote of yours is precious. All Oppn parties discussed the #EVM issue after the #UnitedIndiaAtBrigade rally. We are working closely together and decided on Jan 19 itself to consistently take up the matter with EC. Yes, every vote counts".