EVM ’challenge’: Kejriwal asks if news is correct, Digvijaya calls EC ’naive’

The Election Commission might have reportedly thrown an “open challenge” to prove voting machines can’t be hacked into, but Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and Congress leader Digvijaya Singh don’t seem impressed.

Kejriwal wondered why the commission was not coming out with any official statement and pushing the news of the reported challenge through “sources” instead.

“Why are these stories ascribed to “sources”? How credible are they? Why hasn’t EC issued any formal statement? Or is it just a plant? Has anyone actually seen any official statement from CEC? Am trying to get it since evening. Is this news correct?” he said in a series of tweets on Thursday.

Official sources claimed a day ago that the commission will invite political parties, experts, scientists and technocrats in the first week of May to try and hack the electronic voting machines.

They said the challenge will be open for a week or 10 days and will have various levels.

The chorus against EVMs has gained momentum after the recently held assembly elections in five states, with Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party and Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party spearheading a campaign on the issue.

The Election Commission, however, has said the machines can’t be tampered with.

Recently, opposition parties, including the Congress and the Left, visited the commission, crying foul over the use of EVMs.

Kejriwal even pitched for the use of ballot papers, alleging that the faulty EVMs were helping the Centre’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

After the poll panel’s challenge, Congress’ Singh said: “Those who are hacking are doing roaring business why should they expose themselves?”

He called the EC “naive” and posted on Twitter: “BJP and Hackers are biggest beneficiaries why should they kill a Golden Goose.”

Art of Living event: Why it will take 10 years, Rs 42 crore to revive Yamuna floodplains

Scientists say they would need the help of aquatic plants and animals that once used to inhabit the Yamuna floodplains to fix the ecological damage caused by Art of Living’s three-day cultural festival in March year.

Aquatic plants, microbes and other small aquatic animals, including fish that once lived in the floodplains, would have to be introduced again to make the wetland functional just like before.

“As the flood plains were damaged by humans, we would just kick start the process of rehabilitation and then step aside and allow nature to take over. This process of healing would take around 10 years at least,” said A K Gosain one of the members of the National Green Tribunal-appointed panel.

It has been estimated that the ecology of more than 420 acres of floodplains on both banks of the Yamuna was adversely affected by the three-day event. The panel suggested that it would require more than Rs 42 crore to execute this plan.

The committee experts said at first they would have to ‘physically’ rehabilitate the network of wetlands and channels that were damaged and destroyed by the event. This would require huge desiltation and dredging.

The biological rehabilitation – the process to make the wetlands and channels ecologically functional once again – would have to be started simultaneously.

“For this purpose, we would need to introduce submerged and floating aquatic plants and the microbes and other small invertebrate communities that are associated with these ecosystems,” said another panel member.

Some of the microalgae, microbes and soil invertebrates have to be identified from surrounding areas. They would have to be cultured and multiplied and then introduced.

Once the aquatic vegetation is developed, aquatic animals, particularly fishes and other organisms, would have to be introduced. Once the plant animal communities are developed, the birds and other animal communities will follow as a part of the ecological succession.

“The physical and biological components of ecological rehabilitation of the site would cost around R 42 crore. In addition to this, there would be expenditure for the monitoring by a team of experts for 10 years and the cost of transportation of material outside the floodplain,” a panel expert told HT.

Rajouri Garden bypoll loss: More than just three mistakes of Aam Aadmi Party

New Delhi, April 13: The Aam Aadmi Party’s performance in the Rajouri Garden bye-election has been dismal. While counting was underway, AAP candidate Harjeet Singh was a distant third, way behind his Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress counterparts. Not just that, till 11:20 am, Singh just had a little over 12 per cent votes in his kitty.
The Rajouri Garden seat belonged to the Aam Aadmi Party after the party’s massive victory in the Delhi Assembly Elections 2015. Jarnail Singh had won the seat over Sirsa by over 10,000 votes in 2015. However, last year, Jarnail Singh had left the constituency to fight the Punjab Assembly elections earlier this year, and that precisely was mistake number 1.

The AAP decided to field him from the Lambi seat in Punjab, the home seat of former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. The Lambi seat has been with the Shiromani Akali Dal since 1977. It was only from 1992 to 1997 that the seat was with the Congress. It has otherwise been a SAD stronghold. Getting the MLA who registered a huge win in Delhi to quit and fight from this seat was mistake number 2. Jarnail Singh lost not just the seat, but his deposit too, as he could not garner one-sixth of the votes polled at the Lambi seat.

Following this, the AAP decided to look for a new face for the Rajouri Garden seat instead of getting Jarnail Singh back. The party decided to go with lesser-known Harjeet Singh instead of Jarnail Singh, clearly indicating that it was nervous about this seat. The nervousness does not seem to have done well for the AAP. The party is now close to losing its deposit in Rajouri Garden too.