Mumbai: It is not often that a cabinet minister takes on the Election Commission at a time it is being targeted by the Opposition, too, over faulty EVMs. Union minister Nitin Gadkari has said he was “appalled” by the reason given by the commission that EVMs and VVPAT machines had failed because of the excessive heat and dust in the region.
“I was in Bhandhara at the time. So many EVMs were shut or didn’t work and they are saying (it’s) because of heat. What do they mean by ‘due to heat’? It was always hot here,” he said. The minister’s response dovetailed the Shiv Sena’s scathing criticism of the Election Commission, which it said had become a “mistress” to those in power, almost hinting that the EVMs were corrupted in Maharashtra’s by polls at the bidding of the ruling party.
Gadkari also said the Election Commission should order an immediate inquiry into the incident. “If the election commission has any problems, it is there fault. It is not a good thing. The election commission is responsible for that. If such mistakes happen, I think they should have an inquiry,” he said. But he was at pains to clarify that the BJP government should not be blamed for the mistakes of the poll body.
“The Election commission is an autonomous body. It is not a part of BJP Government nor do we control them. We never interfered in their work, so if any mistake happens, they are responsible for it. Blaming our government is wrong,” he said. “How is Modi ji related to this? How is BJP related to this or how am I related to this or how is the government related to this?” he asked.
He also said that the opposition parties only blame the EVMs when they lose elections. “When Congress won in Punjab EVMs were nice, when in Karnataka we didn’t get the majority the EVMs were nice again, but when they lose elections EVMs are not good,” he retorted. Input CNN IBN.