After DUSU poll row over EVMs, Congress to move court against alleged malfunction

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New Delhi: The Congress said it would move the court against the alleged malfunctioning of electronic voting machines (EVMs) during the Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) election and demanded that all future elections in the country be conducted through paper ballots.

“What has happened in the DUSU polls is unprecedented,” Congress spokesman Ajay Maken, who is also a former president of DUSU, said at a press conference on Friday. “The tampering of EVMs even in DUSU polls only shows the kind of such manipulations the ruling establishment is planning for the coming assembly polls in five states and the next Lok Sabha polls.” Maken further said, “The Congress therefore also reiterates its demand that the EC (election commission) conduct all future elections using paper ballots.”

The Congress spokesman and representatives of the party’s student wing, National Students’ Union of India (NSUI), charged the authorities with “blatantly ignoring NSUI’s complaints for stopping counting and checking the malfunctioning EVMs”.

The EC, meanwhile, issued a statement clarifying that DU EVMs are ‘completely different’ from its own, with a different design for multi-post polls unlike the single-post EVMs for EC. DU had sought EC permission to procure EVMs for student union elections and ECI gave a go-ahead on August 18, 2006 saying that the EVM must be ‘perceptibly distinct’ from the ECI EVM.

While refraining from commenting on the alleged malfunctions of DU EVMs, the ECI statement adds that other organisations may not be using the ‘important technical and administrative safeguards’ used in ECI EVM management.

The EC has also said that starting from May 2017, Bharat Electronics Limited and Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL)-the two EVM manufacturers can supply EVMs to any other organisation only after prior approval from EC. This is the first time the DUSU polls ended up in such a controversy.

NSUI lost three of the four main DUSU posts to the BJP’s students’ wing, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), when results were announced on Thursday. The Congress also questioned as to how EVMs were “privately” procured by the university without the EC’s knowledge, a question also raised by the Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.

Source: Economic Times