Install ‘network jammers’ at EVM strongrooms to curb tampering: Ashok Chavan

Maharashtra Congress president Ashok Chavan Monday demanded installation of network jammers in and around strongrooms where EVMs used for polling are kept. Addressing a press conference after meeting the chief electoral officer on the issue, Chavan claimed electronic voting machines can be tampered using wireless networks like mobile phone towers, wi-fi networks and hence such jammers were required. These jammers should be installed during the counting process as well. We demand that such network jammers be installed immediately in all Lok Sabha constituencies in the state, Chavan said. Chavan informed that the Congress had requested the CEO to declare the result sheet of each round of counting only after it is duly prepared and signed by the returning officer and provided to all parties. The next round of counting should be taken up only after the entire first round process is completed and any request for a recount should be considered round-wise, he said. Instead of random selection of VVPATs for physical verification, candidates should be given the liberty to select the EVM to be tested against VVPAT (Voter-verified paper audit trail) slips, Chavan demanded. Our demand for testing 50 per cent of EVMs against VVPAT slip remains, he added. As per the present counting process of each EVM, the votes of each candidate on serial number 1 are displayed first in ascending order. We would like to request you (CEO) to reverse the counting order in each EVM starting from the last serial number candidate to the serial number 1 candidate in the descending or anti-clockwise order, Chavan said. He said CEO Ashwini Kumar has told the delegation that these demands would be forwarded to the Chief Election Commissioner. Meanwhile, the NCP Monday expressed apprehension that candidates of the ruling party may opt for EVM tampering and demanded that the Election Commission bar candidates from entering EVM strongrooms. The candidates of the ruling parties can resort to EVM tampering using technology to change results, Maharashtra NCP chief Jayant Patil said, adding that modern technologies have shown that changes can be brought in electronic equipment using remote systems. Therefore, no acid test needs to be taken. One must remain alert to ensure there is no scope for doubt left and that people do not lose faith in democracy, Patil said in the letter to the state CEO.