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RSS favours paper ballots, EVMs subjected to public scrutiny
New Delhi | Saturday, Aug 28 2010 IST
 
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Joining the controversy regarding the reliablity of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) which have been questioned by political parties, the RSS today asked the Election Commission (EC) to revert back to tried and tested paper ballots and subject EVMs to public scrutiny whether these gadgets are tamper proof. In an editorial titled 'Can we trust our EVMs?', The Organiser, the RSS mouthpiece, noted it was a fact that till date an absolutely tamper-proof machine had not been invented and credibility of any system depends on 'transparency, verifiability and trustworthiness' than on blind and atavistic faith in its infallibility. The issue is not a 'private affair' and it involves the future of India. Even if the EVMs were genuine, there was no reason for the EC to be touchy about it, the paper commented. The Government and the EC can't impose EVMs as a fait accompli on Indian democracy as the only option before the voter. There were flaws like booth capturing, rigging, bogus voting, tampering and ballot paper snatching in the ballot paper system of polling leading the country to switch over to the EVMs and all these problems were relevant in EVMs too. Rigging was possible even at the counting stage. What made the ballot papers voter-friendly was that all aberrations were taking place before the public eye and hence open for corrections whereas the manipulations in the EVMs is entirely in the hands of powers that be and the political appointees manning the sytem, the paper commented. The EVM has only one advantage -- 'speed' but that advantage has been undermined by the staggered polls at times spread over three to four months. ''This has already killed the fun of the election process,'' the paper noted. Of the dozen General Elections held in the country, only two were through the EVMs and instead of rationally addressing the doubts aired by reputed institutions and experts the Government has resorted to silence its critics by 'intimidation and arrests on false charges', the paper observed, recalling the arrest of Hyederabad-based technocrat Hari Prasad by the Mumbai Police. Prasad's research has proved that the EVMs were 'vulnerable to fraud'. The authorities want to send a message that anybody who challenges the EC runs the risk of persecution and harassment, the RSS observed. Most countries around the world looked at the EVMs with suspicion and countries like the Netherlands, Italy, Germany and Ireland had all reverted back to paper ballots shunning EVMs because they were 'easy to falsify, risked eavesdropping and lacked transparency'. Democracy is too precious to be handed over to whims or an opaque establishment and network of unsafe gizmos. ''For the health of Indian democracy it is better to return to tried and tested methods or else elections in future can turn out to be a farce,'' the editorial said.

-- (UNI) -- 28DI28.xml

 

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