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Show us your EVMs, will prove hacking charge: AAP to EC

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New Delhi, May 11 : The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) today demanded that an all-party committee be formed under the aegis of the Election Commission (EC) and be given access to electronic voting machines (EVM) used in the recent elections in the country.

The party, which claims that EVMs can be manipulated, also sought to drum up support for its campaign through a demonstration outside the EC headquarters, a day before a scheduled all-party meeting with the commission on the issue.

AAP MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj, who had hacked an EVM replica on the floor of the Delhi Assembly on May 9, told a press conference that the question was no longer if EVMs could be manipulated, but whether the recent polls could have been rigged.

The AAP fared poorly in the polls, which were largely won by the Bharatiya Janata Party.

“We will request the EC to form a committee and put representatives of all political parties and even the EC on it. Our expert team will show the committee how voting machines were rigged,” Bhardwaj said.

He said any party could name five booths where they suspected EVMs had been tampered with.

“We will demand that the machines that were used be provided to us,” he said.

Meanwhile, hundreds of AAP workers came out to the streets, demanding that paper trail-equipped EVMs or voter- verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) be used in future elections.

The party’s newly-appointed Delhi convenor, Gopal Rai, who spearheaded the protest, led a delegation to the EC. It met EC officials and handed over a letter addressed to Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi.

Asked why they thought EVMs could be rigged, the protesters, many of whom carried replicas of EVM machines, mostly cited Bhardwaj’s live demonstration in the assembly.

“This is how BJP won the polls in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Even the division along caste lines could not have helped them with such a huge victory,” said AAP worker Pragati, who had come from Mundka near the city’s western border, for the march.

Vikas, a young AAP supporter, summed up the sentiment of the protest, as he observed, “Duniya mai kaunsa machine hack nahi kia ja sakta? Toh EVM kyun nahi?” (Name one machine that cannot be hacked. So why not an EVM?)

At tomorrow’s EC meet, AAP will be represented by Bhardwaj, who claims expertise in the area in his capacity as an engineer, and two technical experts.

Rai said in his letter to the EC that the live demonstration — done on a “replica of the EVMs used by the ECI” — had demolished the idea that voting machines used by it were tamper proof.

“The Commission should allow technical inspection of its EVMs by the expert panels of various political parties to see if the EVMs can be hacked or not. Polls should be held only on VVPAT-enabled machines so that paper trail guarantees integrity of the electoral process,” he wrote.

The VVPAT-equipped EVMs dispense a paper slip which helps voters confirm that their vote has indeed gone to the candidate of their choice.

Politics

Digvijaya switches off cell phone after harassing calls

Sources said that the callers had used unparliamentary language for the senior Congress leader.

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Digvijay Singh

Bhopal, April 3 : Harassed by unsolicited calls on his mobile phone for the past four-five days, former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister said on Friday that he had complained to police and also switched off his cell phone.

“These phone calls were disturbing me for the last four-five days. I also complained to the state DGP and to the service provider, but with no results. So, I switched it off. However, I am available on my landline number in Bhopal due to the lockdown,” the senior Congress leader tweeted.

Sources said that the callers had used unparliamentary language for the senior Congress leader.

Efforts to contact Singh for comments on the issue were not successful.

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Opposition attacks Modi for failing to address economic woes

“People are disappointed at both counts. Symbolism is important, but serious consideration is equally important for ideas and measures”, said Chidambaram.

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Narendra Modi Adrressin Nation

New Delhi, April 3 : After Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged the people to light candles on Sunday at 9 p.m. for nine minutes amid the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown, the opposition on Friday slammed him saying symbolism was important, but serious consideration was equally important to address financial anxieties of the people.

In a series of tweets, former Finance Minister and senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram said, “Dear Narendra Modi, we will listen to you and light diyas on April 5. But, in return, please listen to us and to the wise counsel of epidemiologists and economists.”

He said, “What we expected from you today was FAP II, a generous livelihood support package for the poor, including the categories of the poor who were completely ignored by Nirmala Sitharaman on March 25”.

Chidambaram added, “Every working man and woman, from business person to daily wage earner, has also expected you to announce steps to arrest the economic slide and restart the engine of economic growth.

“People are disappointed at both counts. Symbolism is important, but serious consideration is equally important for ideas and measures”, said Chidambaram.

The Trinamool Congress (TMC) while attacking the Prime Minister demanded a fiscal package. TMC MP Mahua Moitra said in a tweet, “Turn out lights and come on balconies? Get real Mr Modi. Give India fiscal package worth 8-10 per cent of GDP.

“Ensure immediate wages to construction and other labour during lockdown –laws exist permitting this. Stop Gagging real issues in name of curbing fake news.”

Congress leader and Thiruvananthapuram MP, Shashi Tharoor called the Prime Minister a showman and said that Modi was invoking Hindu Symbolism.

“Listened to the Pradhan Showman. Nothing about how to ease people’s pain, their burdens, their financial anxieties. No vision of the future or sharing the issues he is weighing in deciding about the post-lockdown. Just a feel-good moment curated by India’s Photo-Op Prime Minister,” Tharoor said in his tweet.

In another tweet, he said, “This is no accident: the PM spoke on Ram Navami at 9 am for 9 mins, asked us to light diyas & candles on 5/4 at 9 pm for 9 mins. He is invoking all the auspicious elements Hinduism associates with number 9. Back to Ram Bharose?! #COVID19 must be more serious than we thought!”

Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal also criticised the Prime Minister and in a tweet said, “Modiji, learnt nothing about government’s steps to contain the virus, protect our medical practitioners, provide testing kits, reach food and supplies to the poor, finance migrant labour, the jobless.

“Light the ‘Diyaa’ of reason, not that of superstition,” Sibal said.

The opposition leaders’ remarks came after Modi on Friday once again reached out to the nation amid the 21-day nationwide lockdown and urged people to light a candle or “diya” on April 5 at 9 p.m. for nine minutes to dispel the darkness and gloom brought about by the outbreak of the deadly novel coronavirus.

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Congress stands with nation to fight coronavirus: Manmohan

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Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, April 2 : The Congress on Thursday reiterated that it stood with the nation to take on the coronavirus threat amid a 21-day nationwide lockdown.

During the Congress Working Committee meeting held through videoconferencing in the morning to discussed various issues, including government response to the pandemic, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reiterated the party’s support to the government, earlier also voiced by the party leader Rahul Gandhi.

In her opening remarks, Congress President Sonia Gandhi said: “We meet today in the midst of an unprecedented health and humanitarian crisis. The magnitude of the challenge before us is daunting but our resolve to overcome it must be greater.”

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who was among the Congress CMs to attend the meeting, informed the CWC about the preparations and steps taken to fight COVID in his state, including provision of food and medication and preventive steps.

Praising the efforts of various organizations and Punjab Police during the lockdown, he pointed out to non-release of Punjab’s share of Rs 5,000 crore by the Centre as a hindrance in the fight against coronavirus.

He said he had taken up the issue with the Union Finance Minister.

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