An independent candidate, Shrikant Ganpat Shirsat who contested the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) polls earlier this month made a claim which alleged that because of tampering of electronic voting machines (EVMs) he didn’t get a single vote even though he and his family voted for him. However, according to the recent revelations by Maharashtra’s Deputy Election Commissioner Avinash T Sanas these claims have turned out be false, reported The Indian Express. “He (Shirsat) stood for election from ward number 164 in Saki Naka. His claim had prompted an inquiry and we discovered that Shirsat is enrolled as a voter at two polling booths. Contrary to his claim, he hasn’t got ‘zero votes’ at either of the two polling booths,” Sanas told the Indian Express.
The reported added that officials in the State Election Commission (SEC) of Maharashtra have confirmed that Shirsat secured a total of 44 votes from ward number 164. Out of the 44 votes, he got 11 votes at booth number 29 and two votes at booth number 15. This a major development as Shirsat was used an example by many political parties to level allegations of EVM hacking in the assembly elections in UP, Uttarakhand and Punjab, the reported said.
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We will demonstrate and prove before the panel how EVMs can tamper with the help of its ROM: AAP MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj says ahead of meeting pic.twitter.com/sU8ayTLhXQ
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“Since he lives in the same area as booth number 29, we presume he must have cast his vote there. So his claim that his own vote and that of his family and neighbours disappeared is not true,” an SEC official was quoted as saying in the report. “Interestingly, Shirsat, in his February 27 complaint to the SEC, had made no mention of getting no votes in his own polling booth. He only said this to the media. In his letter, he has only raised suspicions over EVMs and demanded a repoll,” the official added.
On February 27, Shirsat was quoted by Mumbai Mirror as saying, “In the last assembly polls, I got 1,500 votes. Now, apparently, I have got 44, and from my booth, zero. I voted for myself, my family voted for me and so did my neighbours (on 90-feet Road in Saki Naka).” Back then, he had asked ‘where did those votes go?’ Even on Tuesday when the Aam Aadmi Party gave a live demonstration of EVM hacking in Delhi Assembly, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said, “Questions are being raised about why we did not complain when we won 67 seats in Delhi. Yes, we did not complain then, nor did we raise questions about the 272 seats won by BJP in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, or the Maharashtra and Jharkhand assembly polls. But when a candidate in the BMC polls pointed out that he did not get a single vote despite voting for himself, it made us think.”