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EVMs can be manipulated, says former Delhi Chief Secretary



New Delhi, Aug 12 : Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) can be manipulated, says a new book by former Delhi Chief Secretary Omesh Saigal.

Saigal says that he had told then Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla that the election results could be altered “if a pre-programmed code number was keyed” into the EVMs.

“A mock poll, in which the skewed result would mean that every fifth vote after the first 10 would go in favour of a particular candidate, was conducted in the presence of some eminent people where this was confirmed.

“This code could be keyed in at any stage, even at the time of the poll by any voter,” he says in the book “[email protected] – Tale Told by an IASs” (Har-Anand Publications).

Saigal says he had doubts about the fairness of the EVMs following the “thoroughly skewed and unexpected result” of the 2009 Lok Sabha election which saw the return of the Congress-led UPA to power.

The Election Commission maintains that the EVMs cannot be tampered with.

Saigal says his analysis of the 2009 results made him believe that if 10 per cent of the votes in 7,000 carefully selected booths of the winning candidate were transferred to the losing one, “the overall result of a victory for (BJP-led) NDA, as generally predicted, would result in a defeat, as had actually happened.

“The question was: could that be done? The answer, after my detailed analysis and study: a resounding yes!”

Saigal says he told the Election Commission that there were huge gaps in the so-called safeguards claimed in favour of the EVMs.

The EVMs’ manufacturer claims that programme codes once written and fused in the OTPROM (One Time Programmable Read Only Memory) cannot be read back or altered by anyone including the manufacturer.

Saigal asks: “Does this mean that even the Election Commission, when it received the machines, did not check and has not checked since whether the programme fused in by the manufacturer did not have a secret code as a string (Trojan) like the one we had prepared?”

The note given by Saigal to the poll panel went on: “If, as it seems, the Election Commission is relying on the certificate given by the manufacturer, we have no protection whatsoever against the manufacturer itself preparing a programme like the one prepared by the undersigned and fusing it on to the chip/circuit board.”

Dubbing the so-called safeguards of the EVMs as “cosmetics”, Saigal says he also conducted a mock poll at the residence of then Leader of Opposition L.K. Advani and BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu to show how the machines could be tampered with.

Advani, the book says, then issued a statement expressing doubts about the reliability of the EVMs and even suggested a return to the paper ballot if the doubts could not be resolved.

Saigal says that other political leaders also “took up the cudgels with renewed vigour demanding a thorough probe into the entire election process in their states in which they had unexpectedly been defeated”.


Madhya Pradesh By-Polls: Set back to BJP, Congress bags 20 wards of 24 in Raghogarh



Bhopal, Jan 20: The Congress party showcased an enthusiastic fight in the Madhya Pradesh civil polls by clinching nine president posts in 19 civic bodies on Saturday, tying the Bharatiya Janata Party, which too, won nine top posts. 

Meanwhile, giving a major setback to the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Congress bagged 20 out of 24 wards in Raghogarh Nagar by-elections. Whereas the BJP won only four wards.

However , the Congress has been in control of the Raghogarh-Vijaypur Municipal Council for the last two decades.

The results are seen as a morale boost for the Congress as the party is planning to go all out against the BJP in the upcoming assembly elections , which slated to held later this year.

Municipal Council elections took place on January 17 in Five districts – Dhar, Barwani, Khandwa, Guna, and Anuppur.

The counting of votes begun at 9 am and ended in the afternoon.


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EVMs to have candidates’ pictures




Jaipur, Jan 19: The Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) will carry pictures of candidates along with their names — when by-elections are held in Rajasthan on January 29.

According to Chief Election Officer Ashvini Bhagat, this has been done to ensure there was no confusion if there were two candidates with the same name.

According to the new arrangement, the EVMs will have the name of the candidate, his or her picture and the election symbol.

Bhagat said although this experiment was done in the Dholpur Assembly by-election, it hasn’t been done anywhere in a Lok Sabah election.

Lok Sabha by-polls are scheduled in Ajmer and Alwar on January 29 while Assembly elections will be held the same day in Mandalgarh.


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Assembly elections: Tripura to vote on Feb 18, Meghalaya, Nagaland on Feb 27; results on March 3



New Delhi, Jan 18: The Election Commission on Thursday announced  the schedule for Meghalaya, Tripura and Nagaland assembly elections. 

While addressing a press conference, Chief Election Commissioner AK Joti said Tripura will vote on February 18, 2017. While polling in Meghalaya and Nagaland will take place on February 27 (Tuesday).

Counting for all the three states will be conducted on March 3, 2018. The results will be declared on the same day.

A total strength of  the three assemblies is 60 members each.

Election to the three states to be held in two rounds.

The term of the Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura legislative assemblies will end on March 6, March 13 and March 14 respectively.

Announcing the poll schedule, Chief Election Commissioner informed  VVPATs and EVMs will be used in the three states for the very first time.


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