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Election Commission's press note on unauthorised mobile use at Mumbai counting centre

The returning officer sent a notice to the Mid-Day newspaper, according to the Election Commission, for "spreading disinformation about the EVM and creating doubts in the Indian electoral system."

Reported by:  PTC News Desk  Edited by:  Annesha Barua -- June 17th 2024 09:21 AM
Election Commission's press note on unauthorised mobile use at Mumbai counting centre

Election Commission's press note on unauthorised mobile use at Mumbai counting centre

PTC News Desk: The Election Commission acknowledged today that a candidate's aide had "unauthorised" usage of a "authorised person's" mobile phone during the Mumbai North West Lok Sabha seat vote count.

This constituency had been won by Ravindra Waikar of the Shiv Sena. The Election Commission said in a media statement that the returning officer has already reported the incident to the police.


The cell phone was purportedly able to receive an OTP (one-time password) that would open an electronic voting machine (EVM). According to the EC, the publication Mid-Day has received a notice from the returning officer for "spreading disinformation about the EVM and creating doubts in the Indian electoral system."

"Since the cell phone is non-programmable and lacks wireless connection capabilities, there is no OTP for unlocking the EVM. In the press release, the EC stated, "It is a complete lie being spread by a newspaper, which is being used by some leaders to create a false narrative."

"EVMs are independent devices that don't require cables or wireless communication with other units in the EVM system... Conducting all of this in front of candidates or their representatives is one of the safeguards, according to the EC.

Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS) ballots are counted physically, on paper, according to the EC, not electronically, "as is being spread through false narratives."

Leader of the Shiv Sena (UBT), Priyanka Chaturvedi, stated in a post on X that the returning officer's action raises more issues shortly after the EC's press release. "Madam Returning Officer, instead of promoting transparency, you are further tarnishing the election office." Rather than receiving answers on the procedure leading to the outcome of the Mumbai North West election, Vandana Suryawanshi jis conference raised a lot more questions, Ms. Chaturvedi stated in the essay.

In a video address, Congressman and former chief minister of Maharashtra Prithviraj Chavan posed a number of issues regarding the most recent EVM controversy. "On June 14, the first information report, or FIR, was filed following the June 4 event. Numerous questions are still unresolved. Initially, who gave permission for a cell phone to be carried into the counting center, and for what purpose was it used? Secondly, where did this OTP issue originate? What's the matter with it?" stated Mr. Chavan.

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The EC's press release is released on a day when social media worldwide is talking about electronic voting machines (EVMs). This conversation was started by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who posted on his microblogging site X that there may be a move to paper ballots because of worries about EVM hacking.

Former Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar criticized Mr. Musk for criticizing a self-contained, well-made technology while defending the usage of EVM as a secure system in India.

Both alliance partner Akhilesh Yadav and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi entered the discussion and advocated for paper ballots instead of electronic voting machines.

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- With inputs from agencies

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