The deadline for the political parties to register for participation in the Election Commission’s hack EVM challenge ends on Friday and interestingly, till Friday night, nobody had applied, sources close to Election Commission informed.
The Commission had on May 20 announced that it would conduct the hackathon from June 3 where technocrats and representatives of political parties would be invited to try and hack into its EVM. The seven recognised national and 49 state parties have until 5pm on Friday to apply.
The poll panel is preparing for a scenario where it will have to call off the challenge simply because there are no takers.
Though the Trinamool Congress on Thursday wrote to EC asking for more time to nominate members or experts to demonstrate that EC's EVMs could be tampered, the Commission has turned down the demand and asked the party to submit its interest in participation within the original May 26, 5pm deadline.
Only yesterday, EC had rejected AAP's demand to allow it to change or tamper with the motherboard of EVMs during the challenge, terming it "implausible and irrational".
According to sources in EC, if no confirmations are received from any party evincing interest in being part of the EVM challenge by 5pm today, the poll panel is likely to issue a press note formally calling off the challenge on grounds of non-participation by those who have been questioning reliability and infallibility of EVMs.
The Aam Aadmi Party, which is at the forefront of an opposition allegation that EVMs were rigged in recent Assembly and Delhi municipal elections, has asked the EC to reconsider the terms set for the challenge and allow it to be an open 'hackathon' where tampering of any kind can be demonstrated.
The poll panel has already rejected the party’s demand that it allow participants to tamper with the motherboard of the machines. The EC said that a change in circuits would mean the EVM is no longer the one used by the Commission.
The reliability of the EVMs was questioned by the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) soon after the results of the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls were announced. Later, the Election Commission was requested by several Opposition parties to revert to ballot paper to conduct the elections.
Interestingly, the very parties who had been alleging that EVMs were tampered with in the recent state polls and demanding a 'hackathon' to prove this, are yet to come forward to show interest in the challenge.
The list of EVM doubters includes the BSP, AAP, Congress, Samajwadi Party, Left, Trinamool Congress and RJD, etc.
While BSP and Congress have remained silent, AAP has questioned the "pre-conditions and rules" set by EC for participation in the challenge.