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Opp question credibility of EVMs; EVMs a ‘black box’ in India says Rahul

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A case was registered against MP Waikar’s brother-in-law for allegedly using a mobile phone “that generated an OTP to unlock an electronic voting machine” at a counting centre

NEW DELHI, June 16: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday said EVMs in India are a “black box” which nobody is allowed to scrutinise, and asserted that “serious concerns” are being raised about transparency in the country’s electoral process.
Congress’ ally and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav also questioned credibility of electronic voting machines (EVMs) and demanded that all future elections should be conducted through ballot papers.
“Democracy ends up becoming a sham and prone to fraud when institutions lack accountability,” Gandhi said in a post on X and tagged a media report which claimed that a relative of Shiv Sena’s candidate, who won the polls from Mumbai’s North-West seat by 48 votes, had a phone that unlocks an EVM.
The former Congress president also tagged a post by Tesla CEO Elon Musk in which he talked about eliminating EVMs.
“We should eliminate electronic voting machines. The risk of being hacked by humans or AI, while small, is still too high,” Musk had said in his recent post.
However, former Union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar countered Musk’s criticism of EVMs and said that the billionaire businessman’s view may apply to US and other places where they use regular compute platforms to build “Internet connected voting machines”.
“But Indian EVMs are custom designed, secure and isolated from any network or media – No connectivity, no bluetooth, wifi, Internet. ie there is no way in. Factory programmed controllers that cannot be reprogrammed,” Chandrasekhar said in a post on X.
“Electronic voting machines can be architected and built right as India has done. We would be happy to run a tutorial Elon,” the BJP leader added.
In a post on X in Hindi, SP chief Yadav said, “Technology is meant to solve problems, if it becomes the cause of problems then its use should be stopped.” Targeting the BJP over the issue, Yadav said, “Today, when fears of EVM tampering are being expressed in many elections of the world and the world’s renowned technology experts are openly writing about the danger of EVM tampering, then what is the reason behind the insistence on using EVM, BJP should clarify this.” Yadav also tagged the Musk’s post and reiterated his party’s demand that all future elections be conducted using ballot papers.
The opposition parties have been raising concerns over EVMs for some time now and had demanded a 100 per cent count of the VVPAT slips which was not allowed.
BJP COUNTERS
The BJP on Sunday accused billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk of making a “huge sweeping generalisation” by calling for eliminating EVMs, saying his views may apply to the US but not to India.
In a recent post on X, Musk had said, “We should eliminate electronic voting machines. The risk of being hacked by humans or AI, while small, is still too high.”
Countering the Tesla CEO’s criticism of EVMs, BJP leader Rajeev Chandrasekhar said, “This is a huge sweeping generalization statement that implies no one can build secure digital hardware. Wrong. Elon Musk’s view may apply to the US and other places – where they use regular compute platforms to build Internet connected Voting machines.”
“But Indian EVMs are custom designed, secure and isolated from any network or media – No connectivity, no bluetooth, wifi, Internet. ie there is no way in. Factory programmed controllers that cannot be reprogrammed,” the former minister of state for information technology said on X.
Chandrasekhar also said EVMs can be architected and built right as India has done. “We would be happy to run a tutorial Elon,” he added.
BJP’s IT department head Amit Malviya said Musk or whoever else thinks they can hack the EVM should approach the Election Commission of India and take a shot at it.
He also took a swipe at Rahul Gandhi after the Congress leader raised Musk’s comments to flag “concerns” about electoral process.
Malviya said, “But why is Rahul Gandhi complaining about Indian democracy to Musk? What can Musk do? Or is crying before the world and demeaning India part of Congress’s DNA? We just had an election and people of India rejected this dynast for a third time in row. But he still does not get it.” (PTI)

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