Poll panel convenes all-party meeting on voting machine


New Delhi: The Election Commission has convened an all-party meeting Friday to discuss the issue of the effectiveness of the electronic voting machines (EVMs) following doubts about their credibility from various quarters.

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The meeting is scheduled for Friday afternoon.

“In the light of the continuing public debate and the emerging concerns, the Election Commission has invited political parties and petitioners in various courts to discuss their concerns in the presence of technical experts and representatives of manufacturing firms,” said a statement issued by the National Forum to promote verifiability, transparency and accountability in Indian elections.

The forum was launched recently and consists of experts, NGOs and other eminent citizens as its members.

“We welcome this initiative but sincerely hope that the commission examines all the valid concerns and apprehensions expressed by various stakeholders,” said its convenor G.V.L. Narasimha Rao.

“As a national forum to ensure fairness in Indian elections, we would like the Election Commission to examine and provide credible answers to all the following questions and issues,” he said.

The commission last week had said they “remain entirely satisfied that EVMs cannot be tampered with. These are fully tamper-proof.”

The first attack about the reliability of the EVMs came from Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) L.K. Advani. Following his protests, other political leaders also voiced their doubts about the reliability of the EVMs that were used during the April-May Lok Sabha polls.

As many cases were filed on the matter in various courts, the commission invited those who had approached the courts and political parties to its headquarters in New Delhi for a demonstration.

The meeting would be held in the presence of technical experts as well as engineers representing the EVM manufacturers.