Chandigarh: After former union minister M Veerappa Moily, another Congress leader and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has stood up to defend the electronic voting machine amid the party's allegation of EVM tampering.
Amarinder was quoted as saying by NDTV, "If EVMs were fixed then I wouldn't be sitting here. The Akalis would be."
The Congress won 77 seats out of 117 in Punjab in the recently held Assembly elections.
Earlier today, Moily found himself isolated in the Congress over his remark that going back to ballot paper would be a regressive step, with the party distancing itself from what it called was his "personal opinion".
Moily appeared going against his party's stand on EVMs when he said reverting to the ballot paper system was not a progressive step.
The Congress has called for going back to old ballot paper amid reports of alleged EVM tampering in the recent Assembly polls.
At the AICC briefing, senior Congress spokesperson Ghulam Nabi Azad said the entire party is united in its view that something is wrong with EVMs and the Election Commission needs to satisfactorily address the issue.
"If somebody has said something, it is in his personal capacity, let it be very clear on this. It is his personal opinion and not of the Congress," Azad said when asked about Moily's remarks, as per PTI.
He said Moily was a signatory to the memorandum handed over to the President today and was a part of the delegation which sought reverting to the ballot paper.
"Congress and like-minded political parties have reached a conclusion he (Moily) may perhaps is not aware of that there was tampering with EVMs in Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, UP. We have substantial evidence based on which the 15-16 opposition parties met the EC four days ago. We gave substantial proof to EC. It did not say that our objections were wrong. It has said that it will probe it. We have asked (the EC) to see how to rectify the flaws in EVMs (so) that the people should have faith that their vote goes to those they vote for," Azad said.
On Moily saying the issue was not discussed among senior party leaders, he said, "We don't call everyone while taking decisions on issues."
Moily, Law Minister in the erstwhile UPA government when EVMs were introduced, said he had got the machines technologically examined at the time and it was found that there was nothing wrong in them.
"But that does not mean that today also they are okay. Now there are apprehensions by Opposition leaders, and since questions have been raised, it needs to be examined and that is what the EC has agreed to," he said.
Rejecting the ballot paper system, Moily said, "It is not a progressive step and we have to move forward on technology."
He said technology needed to be updated from time to time and improved, and called for setting up a high-powered committee of technical experts to go into the technicalities.
"There is no question of going back to manual methods," he said, but added "I will go by the party's views on the issue".
There were also reports of Moily having said that by questioning the EVMs, the Congress party, while joining other opposition forces against the use of EVMs, was showing a "defeatist mindset".
It could, however, not be confirmed.
The Election Commission, meanwhile, has thrown an "open challenge" to people to hack its EVMs, a move which comes after opposition parties urged it to revert to the paper ballot system raising doubts over infallibility of the machines.
"From first week of May, experts, scientists, technocrats can come for a week or 10 days and try to hack the machines," an official source said.
(With PTI inputs)