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Tampering results?

Tampering results?

Electronic voting machines (EVMs) are once again in the news. On Saturday, the Election Commission of India deputed senior officials to supervise the by-polls to Assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh on April 9 following reports of EVM tampering. The latest controversy stems from a video, which apparently showed that a Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machine used during a trial in Madhya Pradesh only issued slips with the Bhartiya Janata Party's election symbol. One school of thought believes that political parties raising a hue and cry about electoral tampering are behaving like sore losers, considering the BJP's massive success in recent polls. While it's perfectly right to be on guard concerning EVMs and their security, it is unfortunate that such allegations were not made when opposition non-BJP parties won elections in other states. If there's one thing India can be immensely proud of, it's the conduct of regular elections that are widely free and fair. The ECI had earlier roundly debunked all allegations of tampering. It presented a detailed explanation about the steps taken to prevent such a thing from happening.

As one of the most reliable institutions in this country, one is inclined to take the ECI at its word. However, no EVM can be assumed to be invulnerable to a determined attacker. In a bid to quell all doubts, experts have called for an early rollout of VVPAT machines in all polling stations across the country. Many constitutional experts have argued for a paper trail accompanying the electronic voting process, which confirms that the votes have been cast correctly. But the recent controversy raises further uncomfortable questions of the poll process. The ECI has sought a detailed report from its official on the ground. If these allegations are indeed proven to be true, it should work towards fixing them.

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