EVM-bluetooth mystery: What happened in Porbandar? How did BJP get 210 votes each in Memanwada's 3 polling booths?
What happened in Porbandar?
On 9th December 2017, during the first phase of polling in Gujarat, there was a prominent, EVM-Bluetooth scare.
Arjun Modhwadia, the Congress candidate from Porbandar Vidhan Sabha in Saurashtra, told the media that, "we detected...EVMs at three polling booths at Memanwada, a Muslim-dominated area... connected to external devices through Bluetooth...when the Bluetooth of a mobile phone is turned on...a device named 'ECO 105' is shown as available..."
Modhwadia added: "The chips fitted in the EVMs appear to be programmable using Bluetooth, and this raises the possibility of tampering...the voting system should be immune to such connectivity to external devices..."
BB Swain, the Chief Electoral Officer (CFO), Gujarat, sent engineers of BEL, the company that manufactures EVMs.
According to an Indian Express report, denying tampering, the CFO explained that "Election Commission ordered an inquiry... BEL engineers concluded that the signal was emanating from blue-tooth device of mobile phone of one Manoj Singrakhiya and not from the EVM. Singarakhiya was a polling agent and his mobile handset of Intexcompany was emanating the signal with device name ECO 105..."
The media did no follow up story on the identity of Manoj Singrakhiya.
Manoj was a BJP Manoj was a BJP polling agent. His name can be seen in the poll register of the three booths of Memwada.
Also, no one tried to tie the dots...the EC confirmed that Manoj, a BJP polling agent, was carrying a mobile device inside a polling booth, which is illegal, that too with a Bluetooth, which is doubly illegal!
Secondly, as per EC, Manoj's device did show 'ECO 105' -- now, which device was this? Why was Manoj's phone showing only ECO 105?
Let's turn to the question whether EVMs can be hacked via bluetooth. The EC denies such a possibility. But experts think otherwise.
To demonstrate whether wireless equipments could hack an EVM, a team of University of Michigan set up 'dishonest display boards', or EVM prototypes.
Then, "to demonstrate the potential for wireless signals", they "implemented a signaling mechanism based on the Bluetooth protocol...wireless signaling could be performed at any time before votes are publicly counted..."
Michigan team further added that, "dishonest display can then store the chosen candidate in the PIC’s non-volatile Flash memory until counting is performed..."
Michigan guys, tested two methods for Bluetooth-based signaling, both of which "can betriggered using ordinary mobile phones...though the use of mobile phones is technically prohibited within 100 meters of polling stations [22, Section XVII.10], this rule is infrequently enforced, and a concealed phone could be discreetly operated inside the polling booth..."
In the first method, "the dishonest display performs a Bluetooth inquiry scan shortly after power on and looks for a device with a name of the form MAGICxx, where MAGIC is some secret word and xx is a pair of digits that are taken to be the number of the favored candidate...the process is extremely simple to implement...however, it carries the risk that a third party might perform his own Bluetooth inquiry scan and detect the...signaling..."
Michigan guys also "developed a more robust signaling method based on the Bluetooth RFCOMM protocol, which provides a reliable stream of communication similar to TCP...."
Their "prototype implementation consists of an application running on an Android phone...it sends a short message to the dishonest display via RFCOMM indicating the favored candidate and the proportion of votes to grant that candidate...the application verifies success by waiting for an acknowledgment from the dishonest display..."
The "application does not use any special Android features, so it could be ported to any smartphone platform that supports RFCOMM, such as the iPhone or Windows Mobile..."
The screenshot below exhibits results of Porbandar seat. Babulal Bokhiriya of BJP polled 72,430 votes. Arjun Modhwadia got 70, 575 votes. BJP won by a slender margin of 1,855 votes.
In the 2017 elections, in the three booths of Memanwada, BJP got exactly 210, 210, 210 votes...
210 is divisible by 105. The figure showing in Manoj's mobile was "ECO 105'.
I rest my case. Please do not ask me what Congress is doing... If you must, then send a petition directly to 24, Akbar Road, Delhi or to Shri Ashok Gehlot.
This concerns us... we are being made a fool of; we will fight among ourselves. But we will not question to BringBackTheBallot...
Source: Amaresh Misra's Facebook timeline