The Election Commission clarifications, on the malfunction of the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail during trial runs in Bhind, Madhya Pradesh, in the run-up to the by-elections, are not very convincing. Has the EC ever tested machines when new symbols were added without removing the old ones? In any case, the strange feature of multiple printing of BJP symbols only, especially when that party rules the State and Centre, gives rise to suspicion. The EC’s admission that its procedure was not followed and the District Election Officer concerned has been replaced is, by itself, proof enough that manipulation of the machine is simple. The EC should also convince people that machines ‘kept in reserve’ are tamper-proof.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)