The Election Commission (EC) rejected the Congress party’s assertion that the EVMs used in the May 10 Karnataka assembly polls were previously used in South Africa and ordered the party to prosecute “rumor-mongers” who spread false information.
The EC wrote to Randeep Singh Surjewala, the AICC’s Karnataka coordinator, that it utilized new EVMs from Electronics Corporation of India Limited for the southern state’s elections.
On May 8, Congress wrote to the poll panel to express concerns and request clarity over the use of South African EVMs in Karnataka without revalidation and re-verification.
Congress’ claim that South Africa used voting EVMs is false.
This Honorable Commission used EVMs from South African elections, which raises concerns. We have been informed of this by various sources, including the fact that all these EVMs have been received directly from South Africa without re-validation and re-verification by the appropriate software/mechanisms by the manufacturer, ECIL, and EC certification. “This casts doubt on the entire EVM validation process,” Surjewala added.
The poll commission claimed the Congress knew Karnataka would utilize solely new ECIL EVMs. Congress leaders were involved in every level of the EVM agitation and Karnataka polls commissioning.
The poll panel denied sending South Africa EVMs. The Electoral Commission of South Africa’s website confirms that EVMs are not utilized in elections there. “As such, there is no question of any machine being used by the EC in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly election which had or could have been used in South Africa elections or for that matter anywhere in the world.”
“ECIL’s 2023 Karnataka election EVMs are all new. “INC knows this,” the poll panel stated. “The EC never imported EVMs from any country whatsoever,” the poll panel wrote. It informed Surjewala that a question from a Member of Parliament of “your standing” was unusual because his party knew the information.
“It has noted with concern that INC has chosen to rely on “sources” and even considered seeking a “clarification” just two days before the poll,” the Election Commission stated.
The 46-hour “silence period” from 6 pm on May 8 to Wednesday evening prevented the EC from responding immediately.
“The factual foundation of the information given by the “different sources” with reference to South Africa being manifestly non-existent, unequivocally authorizes INC, the entity targeted by the false information, to publicly expose such malicious sources.
“Further, you may ensure such rumour-mongers are brought to justice so that INC’s longstanding reputation of a responsible stakeholder of the Indian electoral system is not dented,” the EC said. The Commission expects the party to confirm its action by 5:00 pm on May 15.