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Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah Expresses Doubt About EVMs, Says Will Write Letter to EC

The Congress has, during Gujarat polling too, raised the issue of how EVMs were being tinkered with. It was amid these concerns that VVPATs (voter verified paper audit trails) were mandated for last week's polling by the Supreme Court.

Deepa Balakrishnan | CNN-News18deepab18

Updated:January 11, 2018, 11:09 AM IST
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Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah Expresses Doubt About EVMs, Says Will Write Letter to EC
File photo of Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.
Bengaluru: With Karnataka due for elections next year, Congress is already in election mode.

The biggest State to have a Congress government does not seem to trust electronic voting machines.

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has said he will be writing to the Election Commission of India soon to ask that ballot papers be used for the Assembly elections, scheduled in mid-2018.

In Raichur for a public meeting, Siddaramaiah told the media, "Though it is an independent, constitutional body, they (Central government) have appointed those they want as the chief election commissioner. So what we are saying is, let's go back to the old system. This is not just us, others -- like Mayawati in Uttar Pradesh -- have also raised this issue before the UP polls."

Reiterating his stand, Siddaramaiah took to social media later on Friday evening to say he would be following this up with a missive to the ECI, demanding that Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) should not be used for the Karnataka Assembly elections as there have been cases of EVM misuse/ rigging in other places.

"America and Germany too had EVMs before, but they have moved back to ballot paper now, as they realised there was misuse. Our wish is that the Election Commission carries out its responsibility to ensure fair, authentic elections are held, without any abuse of power," the CM tweeted.

The Congress has, during Gujarat polling too, raised the issue of how EVMs were being tinkered with. It was amid these concerns that VVPATs (voter verified paper audit trails) were mandated for last week's polling by the Supreme Court.

Interestingly, when parties like the Aam Aadmi Party had raised similar questions, Karnataka's IT Minister had thrown an open challenge, saying that he will willing to host an EVM hackathon in Karnataka if the ECI so wished -- and we could put to rest any concerns at that time, or if hacking was possible, bring in remedial measures.

A significant number of EVMs are 'made in Karnataka' with Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) being one of the two public sector undertakings mandated to manufacture these.

Trying to retain power in its last big bastion, the Congress doesn't want to leave anything to chance, starting the cry against EVMs well ahead of time.

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| Edited by: Ashish Yechury
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