Free Press Journal

EVM-tampering lame excuse for poll defeat

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It is unfortunate that ill-founded doubts have been cast on the credibility of the Election Commission and of the results of recent elections to state assemblies in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Punjab. That this has been done by Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal, supported by Lalu Prasad Yadav and Mamata Banerjee who had no involvement in these elections, is a measure of the destructive mentality of these parties and leaders who have not a shred of evidence to support their claims. They have pointed fingers at the BJP but have no explanation for the fact that the Akali-BJP combine was mauled in Punjab and the Congress party emerged as the single largest party ahead of BJP in Goa and Manipur. Nothing can take away from the Election Commission the credit for the smooth conduct of the elections that were practically incident-free. This ungraciousness in defeat on the part of Mayawati and Kejriwal is a sign of not just being bad losers but also of megalomania. Mayawati does not need to look any further than the limited appeal of her party beyond certain social groups like the Jatavs and to a lesser extent, Muslims. She has questioned how Muslims could have voted for BJP but has overlooked the fact that the pathological hatred between the BSP and Samajwadi Party cadres had split the Muslim vote vertically and the BJP must have been  a beneficiary of that. As for AAP, Kejriwal’s failure to project a chief ministerial candidate and the alleged wooing of Khalistani supporters worked against his party and in the Congress’ favour. The fear of Punjab falling prey to terror was enough to put off many voters.

It was during this electronic voting machine era that Kejriwal had notched up a landslide win in the Delhi Assembly elections and Mayawati had vanquished her rivals before the spell of SP rule. If anything, the EVMs have been improved in the intervening period. The Indian EVMs are standalone machines making them less vulnerable to network or operating system threats. They are randomly tested in the presence of the representatives of all political parties before the polling is begun in every constituency. Since 2000, EVMs have been used in 107 General Elections to State Legislative Assemblies and three General Elections to Lok Sabha held in 2004, 2009 and 2014. The issue of possible tampering of EVM has been raised before various High Courts since 2001. After going into all aspects of the technological soundness and the administrative measures involved in the use of EVMs at elections in India, they have held that the EVMs in India are credible, reliable and totally tamperproof. In such circumstances, to make wild allegations of tampering amounts to doing a great disservice to Indian democracy and to the ethos of impartiality that the EC prides itself in.