The Congress party has raised concerns about reports of “defective” VVPAT machines and has urged the Election Commission (EC) to work towards restoring public trust in the electoral process. According to Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera, media reports suggest that the EC has identified 6.5 lakhs VVPAT machines as defective and returned them to the manufacturers for repair. This represents more than one-third (37%) of the number of machines used in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Khera stated that the defects are a “most serious issue” that could have influenced the votes of voters in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and subsequent Assembly elections. VVPATs were introduced as a measure to increase public trust in Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). Defects on such a large scale require full transparency to restore public faith and trust in the electoral process, Khera added.
Congress has asked the EC a series of eight questions, including whether the EC has identified the exact defects in the VVPAT machines and why the rectification and identification of defects have been delayed. Khera also noted that this is not an isolated incident and that the defects are serious enough that the machines were returned to the manufacturers in violation of the EC’s own Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).
However, in response to media reports about VVPAT defects, the Election Commission has clarified that 3.43 lakh VVPATs were identified for preventive maintenance, not 6.5 lahks as previously reported. Officials have stated that a faulty VVPAT does not produce erroneous results but rather stops functioning during the voting process.
The Congress party has called on the Election Commission to work with everyone to restore public trust in the integrity of the electoral process. The EC’s response to the Congress party’s questions will be essential in ensuring transparency and maintaining public trust in the electoral process.