Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi Chief Minister, has written to Election Commission, requesting not to use Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) for polling during the upcoming municipal elections in the National Capital. Instead, the AAP chief has demanded the use of ballot papers for the polling. Kejriwal’s demand has come in the wake of BSP chief Mayawati’s allegation that the EVMs were tampered in Uttar Pradesh to effect positive results for the Bharatiya Janata Party.
In a letter to the Election Commission, BSP had alleged, “…several persons had been informing the party (BSP) that grave manipulations have been done in the voting machines by experts of technology and software field hired by BJP in such a manner that particular number of votes as desired by BJP will get automatically transferred to BJP candidates in every constituency even though they have actually been polled in favour of BSP or other political parties.”
“The manipulation is absolutely clear from the fact that we have received information from counting agents that in several polling booths where more than 40% to 50% Muslim votes were there still almost all votes are being shown to have been done in favour of BJP,” it added.
— Anand Ranganathan (@ARanganathan72) March 14, 2017
In response, the EC rejected BSP claim. “The Election Commission has firm conviction and complete satisfaction that EVMs cannot be tampered with.”
Trashing Mayawati’s claim that BJP members tampered EVMs, the EC explained the elaborate process through which it ensures that there is no manipulation of the EVMs. It also said, “On the poll day, a mock drill by casting at least 50 votes is conducted at every polling stations in the presence of the representatives of the candidates/polling agents with their signature and a certificate to that effect is obtained from every Presiding Officer.”
Despite the EC clarification, Kejriwal is another leader who has written to the poll panel. Kejriwal’s move, however, appears to be aimed at creating doubts in the eyes of the voters. Had it not been the same, why AAP has not raised similar concern in Punjab, where Congress party trounced AAP hopes. Not only this, there was no EVM- related issue raised by any party, including AAP, when the latter won 67 out of 70 seats in 2015 Delhi election.
My Letter to Kejriwal to hold Delhi Municipal Elections through Ballot Paper-
It also indicates-how he is empowered and why should he do so? pic.twitter.com/sHVAMn587K
— Ajay Maken (@ajaymaken) March 14, 2017
It is interesting that Congress, which won a massive majority in Punjab, is also questioning the use of EVMs. In a letter, Delhi Congress leader Ajay Maken has written to Kejriwal to get the MCD election carried out with ballot papers. Raising concern that Vote Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) in EVMs has not yer been introduced to ensure 100% transparency, Maken said, “Fact of the matter is, that serious doubts have croppers up in the minds of the voters as to the free and fair nature of the electoral process.”
The EC has rejected Kejriwal’s demand.