Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh expressed skepticism about the reliability of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) on Wednesday, advocating for the distribution of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips to voters for casting in the ballot box. Singh, a Rajya Sabha member, suggested that election results should be declared by counting these slips, leading to a sharp response from the BJP.
Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, a one-time rival of Singh within the state Congress, remarked that the public had repeatedly addressed Singh's concerns on this matter. Singh, during a press conference, raised questions about the uniqueness of India's use of EVMs, contrasting it with countries like Australia, Nigeria, Venezuela, and Brazil. He claimed that the software used in Australia is in the public domain, but in India, the Election Commission does not make it accessible due to hacking concerns.
Singh, who has previously questioned the reliability of EVMs after the Congress' defeats in assembly polls, proposed the handover of VVPAT slips to voters for verification before being dropped into the ballot box. He insisted that election results should be declared based on counting these slips rather than relying solely on EVMs.
During the press conference, Singh and a computer engineer demonstrated what they claimed was a flaw in the VVPAT system, suggesting that prolonged button presses resulted in the recording of multiple votes for different symbols. They emphasized the need for transparency in the electoral process and raised concerns about the authenticity of the VVPAT machine.
In response, BJP spokespeople criticized Singh for casting doubts on the EVMs, stating that he was questioning the victories of his party in Karnataka and Telangana, as well as his son's success in the Madhya Pradesh assembly polls. They accused Singh of searching for excuses for the Congress party's anticipated defeat in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia remarked that the public in Madhya Pradesh had already addressed Singh's concerns on multiple occasions.
(With Agency Inputs)