Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has termed as bogus the doubts raised by opposition parties over misuse of Electronic Voting machines (EVMs) during the just concluded Lok Sabha elections. Kumar said that the use of EVMs by the Election Commission to conduct elections has brought about a lot of transparency in the system. He said that opposition leaders are questioning the authenticity of EVMs because they know their defeat is imminent.
“Political groups tend to make such bogus allegations when faced with defeat. EVMs have been in use since much before the Modi government took over. I have always been in favour of these since this technology has brought about a lot of transparency in the electoral process,” Kumar told reporters after attending a meeting of the NDA in Delhi. Kumar who is the president of Janata Dal (United) which is a constituent of the NDA. He is currently heading a JD(U)-BJP-LJP coalition government in Bihar.
Faced with the unfavourable exit poll predictions, the opposition leaders met the Election Commission on Tuesday, demanding transparency in the counting process by verifying EVM numbers with VVPATs. The opposition leaders earlier held a meeting at the Constitutional Club where they discussed the future strategy and agreed to remain in constant consultations. Leaders said that they are on the same page and decide the future course of action, depending on the outcome of the elections.
Those who attended the opposition’s meeting on Tuesday included senior Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ahmed Patel, Ashok Gehlot and Abhishek Singhvi, Samajwadi Party’s Ram Gopal Yadav, Andhra Pradesh CM and TDP president Chandrababu Naidu, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechuri, CPI’s D Raja, Delhi Chief Minister and AAP’s national convenor Arvind Kejriwal, RJD’s Manoj Jha, NCP’s Praful Patel and DMK’s K Kanimozhi. From Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress, Derek O’Brien was present in the meeting.
“We told the EC that the VVPAT machines should be counted first and if there is any discrepancy, then all of them in that segment should be counted,” Azad told reporters after the opposition leaders met the EC and submitted a memorandum.
Meanwhile, the BJP has condemned opposition parties for questioning the credibility of EVMs and asked them to accept their defeat with grace if Narendra Modi is voted to power again. Senior party leader and outgoing Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that EVM is good when Mamata Banerjee became West Bengal CM and Amarinder Singh became Punjab CM, ‘but when there is an expectation that the NDA will win, then EVM is unreliable’.
“The BJP condemns their (opposition) conduct and will tell humbly to accept their defeat with grace,” he said.
Almost all exit polls have predicted an easy win for the BJP-led NDA under Narendra Modi’s leadership. The NDA is projected to bag more than 300 seats in 543 members Lok Sabha. The results of the Lok Sabha elections will be declared on Thursday. The tenure of the 16th Lok Sabha will expire on June 3.