EVMs used in Karnataka had not been deployed in South Africa: EC rebuts Congress

Congress MP and general secretary in-charge of Karnataka had raised concerns on May 8

Published - May 12, 2023 12:27 am IST - NEW DELHI

Workers arrange EVMs in a strong room after the Karnataka Assembly elections, in Bengaluru on May 11, 2023.

Workers arrange EVMs in a strong room after the Karnataka Assembly elections, in Bengaluru on May 11, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI

The Election Commission (EC) on Thursday said that no electronic voting machines (EVMs) used in the May 10 Karnataka Assembly poll had been deployed in South Africa as alleged by the Congress and asked the party to “publicly expose” the “sources” that spread such false information.

The poll body was responding to charges made by Congress MP and general secretary in-charge of Karnataka Randeep Singh Surjewala in a letter written on May 8 wherein he had raised concerns about the “reuse” in the Karnataka election of EVMs previously used in South Africa, without the due process of revalidation and reverification.

The commission said that neither had the EVMs been sent to South Africa nor had the EC ever imported EVMs from any country whatsoever.

South Africa, it said, did not use the machines at all. “The fact that EVMs are not used in elections in South Africa is easily verifiable through National and provincial elections Illustrated Booklet (English) on the website of Electoral Commission of South Africa,” it said.

The EC said that the EVMs used in the Karnataka poll had been manufactured by the Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL), and the Congress was specifically aware of this.

“This fact is in full knowledge of the INC. The president of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee stood specifically informed,” it said adding that Congress representatives had participated in each stage of the EVM movement and commissioning for the Karnataka poll.

The poll body said that the factual basis of the information provided by the “various sources” to the party with regard to South Africa, was clearly “non-existent”.

It asked the Congress to publicly expose such “mischievous sources”.

“Further, you may ensure such rumour-mongers are brought to justice, so that INC’s long- standing reputation of a responsible stakeholder of the Indian electoral system is not dented,” it said.

The poll body said that it had held back an immediate response in view of the silence period and serious potential of spread of false information and rumour-mongering on the eve of election. It asked the Congress Party to send confirmation of the action taken by it in this regard by 5 p.m. of May 15.

Campaigning for the Karnataka poll has been often acrimonious with all political parties in the fray approaching the EC with complaints and counter-complaints. The results for the 224-member Assembly would be declared on May 13.

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