The EVM Controversy – a Lesser Menace than the Election Process

The EVM Controversy – a Lesser Menace than the Election Process
The EVM Controversy – a Lesser Menace than the Election Process

February 20, 2019 :Kolkata : The Public Relations Society Of India, Kolkata Chapter in its 49 th AGM arranged a panel discussion on February 17,2019 at The Conclave.

An Executive Committee was formed (2018-2020) wityh the following members.

Chairman: Soumyajit Mahapatra,Vice Chairman: Subhash Mohanti,Secretary: Antara Chakraborty,Jt.Secretary : Nirmal Chatterjee,Treasurer: Uttam Singhania,

EC Member:

Akhil Bandhu Paul,Dipak Agarwal,

Co Opted :

Chitralekha Banerjee,Sumit Agarwal,Dr. S K Khemani,Mohan Bose,

National Council Members:

Soumyajit Mahapatra,Nazeeb Arif,Subhash Mohanti,Antara Chakraborty,Akhil Bandhu Paul,

Panel Discussion:

EVM becomes questionable in the wake of 17th Loksabha Elections,As India gears up for the 17th Loksabha Elections, Public Relations Society of India (PRSI), Kolkata Chapter organized a panel discussion today in order to discuss and analyze the most pivotal platform for the elections- Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) at The Conclave as an opening session seminar to be followed by the Chapter’s AGM.

Under the theme of EVM Hacking-Techno Legal Aspects: Impact of voting, the panelists were chosen to give a bird’s eye view of the use of EVM in Indian election system. The panelists were Kingshuk Banerjee, Bivas Chatterjee, Public Prosecutor,Electronic Evidence ,Govt Of West Bengal ,Sandeep Sengupta ,Ethical Hacker and the session was moderated by the eminent Dr. Kunal Sarkar who is the President Of Calcutta Debating Circle.

Following the allegation of US based Syed Shuja at a press conference in London, who claimed the vulnerability of EVM machines used in 2014 elections; EVM has been in the eye of the storm. Attendees were unanimous that the seminar gave a clear and compelling overview of the challenges the EVM machines were facing and what can be a possible outcome.

Over the course of this 75 minutes seminar, the speaker lineup made an engaging and stimulating programme. The seminar kicked off with a brief introduction by the moderator, Dr. Kunal Sarkar.Eminent Surgeon & President, Calcutta Debating Circle who traced back to the Athenean age where only 10 per cent of the population actually voted and Socrates was a strong critique of democracy. As he moved towards the modern day voting system, he stressed on the importance of appreciating the ascending Indian technological roadmap that has given rise to this EVM.

Kingshuk Banerjee,Columinst recalled the recent movie Newton to give an idea of the hardship to be faced by the Indian voters as he clearly voiced out his opinion that EVM must be treated as nothing but a platform and that fact that only politicians are objecting the vulnerability of EVM raising the question of politicians being opportunists in doing so!

The legal consultant, Bivas Chatterjee , Spl PP, Electronic Evidence,Govt Of West Bengal went a step further by emphasizing the fact that nothing is un-hackable in this modern world and every Indian has the right to know whether the machines can be tampered or not. He spoke on Election Commission’s use of VVPAT, the additional paper trails in the upcoming Elections and also reminded the audience that the EVM that was hacked was a prototype and not a real one.

Sandeep Sengupta, the ethical hacker shared his insights on what’s possible and what’s not with the EVM. He stressed on the randomization of the distribution of EVM throughout India and also on the electro-magnetic pulse and the possibility of degaussing of the same. He suggested on the use of block chain technology in future.

Dr. Sarkar rounded off the conference talking about the rising importance of AI (Artificial Intelligence) while not forgetting that only integrity can wipe out all these discrepancies prevailing around the vulnerability of the EVM.