The Chief Election Commissioner of India O.P Rawat has reiterated that Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) were “unbiased and tamper-proof” and said the EC will allay concerns of all political parties on the matter.Mr. Rawat, who was in Nagpur on Tuesday to deliver a lecture on “Questions on the Electoral process: Apprehensions and Solutions”, claimed that the EVMs did not witness any malfunction and its failure rate was 0.5 %.“Today, many political parties are raising apprehensions about the EVMs. When the ballot papers were being used, lakhs of votes would get invalidated because of some small reason and at times, the victory margin would be less than the invalidated votes. Election by ballot paper involved many dangers and risks of manipulation. Our two neighbouring countries recently witnessed elections using ballot paper. But in both these countries, large-scale complaints are being received. Our technical experts from IIT Mumbai, Delhi and Bhilai have done a root cause analysis (of the EVMs) and improved it. Now you don’t witness [EVM] failures like the previous elections. Despite all this, some political parties are going to demand election by ballot paper. We will give them time and try to address their concerns,” Mr. Rawat said.Posing a counter question to those who raise doubts over the EVMs, Mr. Rawat said, “Common people, political parties, and the election commission have to decide [on the EVM]. If you can do transactions involving crore of rupees by electronic means, why do you want to go the other way [in terms of voting]?” Blaming the non-seriousness of some polling officials while taking training for EVM snags, Mr. Rawat said that some polling officials miss out on important details during training which causes EVM snags but the blame goes to the EVM.To a question from Congress leader and former Lok Sabha MP Nana Patole regarding malfunctioning of EVMs during the by-election in Bhandara-Gondia Lok Sabha constituency, the CEC said, “It wasn’t the EVM which witnessed snags. It was the VVPAT. New machines and those (officials), who didn’t take training properly, caused it. The VVPAT machines should be compatible with the same generation of the EVMs and the companies which is why the EVMs were brought from Surat for this election. The Election Commission is committed to resolving all the concerns of the stakeholders i.e. the people and political parties.”Terming the media management, including social media, and money management during elections as a worry for the Election Commission, Mr. Rawat said he was concerned over the misuse of money and public data during elections.Admitting that fake news affected elections, the CEC asked the people not to be vulnerable to it.“Have faith in the strength of the Constitution and the country’s institutions. Don’t doubt common citizen of this country. There are people who take money (from political parties) but vote for only those who do good work,” he added.He termed the Election Commission’s ruling over the Rajya Sabha election of Congress leader Ahmad Patel last year as proof of how the ECI was competent enough to take unbiased decisions. At the same time he expressed concerns over illiteracy of voters and democratic deficit.“The debate on the EVMs will go on. Some people are spreading rumours that the VVPAT captures pictures of the voters. We are running a campaign against this. We had connected 30 crore voter IDs to Aadhaar but the Supreme Court put a stay on it. We will start the process as soon as the court’s ruling comes,” he said and refused to comment on a “hypothetical question” if the Election Commission was ready for an early Lok Sabha election.