Nationalist Congress Party, CPI(M) to participate in Election Commissioner’s EVM challenge

New Delhi: After much noise and drama, the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) challenge is turning out to be a non-starter with only Nationalist Congress Party and Communist Party of India (Marxist) CPI(M) expressing their interest to participate in the challenge. RJD’s Lalu Prasad Yadav’ application was 39 minutes late and hence was not entertained by EC.

Today was the last day for all political parties to respond to the Election Commission on participating in EVM challenge scheduled for June 3. Till today evening, eight political parties have sent their responses.

“Both Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have raised issues about the existing framework of the challenge and have not expressed their interest in participating in the challenge,” an EC spokesperson said.
Earlier, EC had turned down a request by AAP to allow changing or tampering of EVM motherboard during the upcoming open challenge, claiming that doing so would be ‘irrational and implausible’.

“It is considered view of the commission that allowing any change of the motherboard or internal circuit of the EVM, is like saying that anyone should be permitted to manufacture a new machine and introduce new EVMs in the ECI system, which is implausible and irrational,” EC said in its letter to AAP.

As per NCP’s letter to Election Commission, the NCP has nominated its three representatives – Vandana Hemant Chavan, Guarav Jayprakash Jachak and Yasin Hussain Sheikh for participating in the EVM challenge. The party has not opted to choose four EVMs of their choice as was offered by the Election Commission. As per the framework of the challenge, the Election Commission allowed representatives of political parties to choose EVMs of their choice which were to be packed in boxes in the presence of the representative and transported to the Delhi headquarter. The entire process was to be videographed.

Since NCP is not using this option, the Election Commission will bring few EVMs from Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

While there will be just two challengers, there will also be an observer galore. The ruling BJP, Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal, CPI (M) and CPI have expressed interest to observe. Puducherry’s All India N R Congress is the only party to have categorically written to Election Commission refusing to participate in the challenge.

It is interesting to note that there has been no letter from Bahujan Samajwadi Party, who were first to cry foul over ‘fixed’ EVMs on March 11, following party’s disastrous performance in Uttar Pradesh Assembly Polls. Neither Samajwadi Party nor Trinamul Congress, who enthusiastically backed BSP’s Mayawati in anti-EVM campaign, has said a word.