Following BJP’s massive victory in four out of five state assembly elections in India, the EVM controversy fueled by the opposition parties spread across the country. Sixteen opposition parties including AAP, BSP, SP, Congress and TMC attacked the EC (Election Commission) on use of tampered EVMs, favoring BJP government in process. They petitioned the election commission to ditch EVMs and revert to paper ballot system to ensure transparency in election process.
Fed up with persistent accusations by the opposition, the EC opened an ‘EVM Hackathron challenge’ for all citizens. The election officers challenged opposition leaders and computer geeks around the world to hack EVMs. If they succeed in this challenge, the EC would replace EVMs with ballot paper. However, this didn’t sit well with political parties. They went on to express their rebellion through mass protests and Twitter shaming.
Amidst all this controversy, the Commission proposed to launch VVPAT EVMs (paper trail machines) that procure a slip after a voter had successfully casted his or her vote. The slip would verify that their votes were casted to their desired candidates only. Last year, SNA Zaidi, the Chief Election Commissioners requested PM Narendra Modi to grant them funds for new EVMs.
The union cabinet finally gave clearance to the EC’s request by sanctioning Rs 1,009 and Rs 9,200 crores in two batches for purchase of new paper trail VVPAT units. Meanwhile the SC asked the election officers to state the tentative timeframe in which these VVPATs will be available in all polling stations of the country.
In response, the EC requested the center two grant them a time frame of 30 months so they could install 16 lakh VVPATs all over the country. Two PSUs—ECIL and BEL will manufacture these EVMs for use.
The specialty of new paper trail EVMs is that they’ve a verification bar where the candidates can see their casted votes. The paper slip carrying their desired party’s symbol will flash in this verification bar for 7 seconds after which, it’ll be stored separately. These slips will be used for verification purpose while counting of votes.
Thus, these EVMs will ensure complete transparency and security in election process.