The Aam Admi Party is free to file an election petition in the state high court if it wants to verify votes cast in Punjab polls with data of paper trail, the Election Commission said today.
In a strongly-worded letter, the EC also said it is for the AAP “to introspect as to why your party could not perform as per your expectations and it is unfair on your part to attribute unsatisfactory poll performance of your party to the alleged tamperability of EVMS.”
The poll watchdog said after declaration of results only alternative available to verify the data of votes cast is to file an Election Petition before the High Court concerned.
The AAP alleged that poll authorities in Punjab had refused to accept its demand to tally results with paper trial audit.
The party had moved the Election Commission (EC) over reliability of the machines and the results of Punjab polls.
AAP had won 20 seats out of 117 in Punjab assembly polls and emerged as the largest opposition party. However, the number fell way short of Arvind Kejriwal’s claim of winning 100 seats.
The Commission said no credible material had been brought to the knowledge of authorities during and at the time of EVM “mock drills” in Punjab elections to show alleged tampering in EVMs used in the state.
It said the Supreme Court had never cast any aspersion or expressed any doubt that election process is interdicted/ rigged by use of EVMs.
“The Commission strongly objects to this wrong and imaginary extrapolation of (the) Supreme Court’s order. This may please be noted as a responsible political party,” it told AAP.
It said, “any surmise based on foreign studies or operating system based EVMs used elsewhere would be completely erroneous. The ECI-EVMs cannot be compared with those EVMs and ECI-EVMs are tamper-proof.”
AAP termed it as “unfortunate” the Election Commission’s statement asking it to file an election petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court if it wanted to verify the votes cast in the Punjab Assembly polls with the paper trail data.
The party claimed that the alleged EVM malfunctioning incident in Madhya Pradesh’s Bhind district, where the VVPAT-enabled electronic voting machines printed the BJP’s poll symbol irrespective of the button pressed during a mock trial, had made it clear that the EVMs were not tamper-proof.
“It is unfortunate that instead of taking due action, the Election Commission is issuing political statements on the issue of EVM tampering…
“The incident (of Bhind) shook the faith of millions of Indian voters in the impartiality of the EC and the entire process of elections using EVMs,” AAP said in a statement.
(With PTI inputs)