Faced with an “imminent defeat” in Delhi’s municipal polls, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is “looking for an excuse” by questioning the credibility of Electronic Voting Machines, Union Minister and senior BJP leader Harsh Vardhan said today. Kejriwal’s claims that EVMS could be tampered with were not only “baseless” but also reflected his “intellectual bankruptcy”, the Union Minister for Science & Technology said.
“For Kejriwal, EVMs means Everyone Votes for Modi. By questioning the credibility of the EVMs, you are insulting the wisdom of people,” he told PTI. “Hurling charges and wild abuses is a part of his politics,” Vardhan said.
Kejriwal, he pointed out, did not complain about EVMs when his party won 28 seats in 2013 and the BJP bagged 32 seats. “They went on to win 67 out 70 seats (in the next election), which was unprecedented. We won only three seats. The BJP also lost (in) Bihar badly. So where is the question of EVMs being tampered with,” he asked.
Vardhan stressed that by casting aspersions on EVMs just before the MCD polls, he was looking for an excuse for his “imminent defeat” in the MCD polls, scheduled for April 23. After the party’s poor show in the Punjab state assembly elections, Kejriwal had questioned the use of EVMs and the Election Commission (EC). The party had also demanded that the the MCD polls be conducted with paper ballots.
Vardhan also attacked the Delhi government over the findings of the Shunglu committee, formed by former Lt Governor Najeeb Jung to look at whether decisions taken by the Kejriwal government had followed government rules. The report was just the “tip of iceberg”, he held.
The Chandni Chowk MP, who was the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate in the 2013 Assembly polls, also rubbished AAP claims about the success of its mohalla clinics. The 150-odd mohalla clinics were started by the Delhi government in a bid to provide patients with free treatment and medicines.
A complaint has also been lodged with the Vigilance Department alleging irregularities in the running of these clinics. Vardhan, himself a medico, said the initiative was one Delhi could have been proud of, but doctors in mohalla clinics had made “false entries” of patients to ensure a “good” income.
“Instead of quantity, the focus should have been on giving quality treatment to patients,” the minister said. Vardhan dismissed opposition claims that there was an anti-incumbency wave against the BJP for it had been ruling the MCD for ten years. He also denied that some former BJP councillors had rebelled after being denied tickets for the polls.
“There is hardly any rebellion in the party,” the BJP leader claimed. The BJP has been banking on a Modi wave, especially after its massive mandate in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, in the coming MCD polls.
It had built a campaign around Modi in the 2015 Assembly polls, too, but changed its strategy at the last moment by making Kiran Bedi its chief ministerial candidate, leading to an electoral rout.
“There is an anti-incumbency factor against the AAP government and not us, because people are disillusioned with it. Even if there was anti-incumbency (against the BJP), we have given fresh faces for the MCD polls and that has brought about a huge amount of positivity,” he said.