With the winner of the Delhi seat about to be crowned as the counting of votes for the Delhi Municipal Corporation (MCD) elections begins today, one cannot forget the row surrounding the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) that spiraled throughout the polls.
Let’s have a look at the highlights of the EVM tampering row this MCD Polls:
• On April 23rd Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal raised concerns about the reliability of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), alleging that many machines were malfunctioning.
• Just two days prior to the MCD elections i.e. on April 21, the Delhi High Court rejected the plea seeking direction to state election commission and the Election Commission of India (ECI) to use only second generation of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) with Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) in the civic polls.
• Earlier on April 18, the Delhi High Court had refused to give immediate relief to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in its plea seeking the same. The court questioned the AAP as to why it was approaching it at “11th” hour for getting MCD polls conducted via VVPAT machine EVMs.
• The plea was filed by the AAP on the very same day itself.
• A day before, the Delhi Chief Minister met the State Election Commissioner on the issue of the EVMs and put forward his demand. However, the SEC rejected the proposal, saying there was no provision to postpone the elections.
• Earlier on March 24th, Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal had turned down Kejriwal’s request to amend rules and conduct the civic polls using ballot papers.
• The Delhi Congress had also written to Kejriwal, seeking use of ballot papers instead of EVMs in the civic polls.
• On March 14th, Kejriwal appealed to the Election Commission to use the ballot paper system in place of EVMs in the Delhi Municipal Polls.
• The issue of EVM tampering first surfaced after Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati, earlier on March 11 alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) received a massive mandate in the state because of the fault in machines which led to votes being caste in favour of the saffron party no matter which button the voter pressed.
However, the MCD polls were conducted with the help of the EVM machines with recording of around 54 percent voter turnout.
State Election Commissioner S.K. Srivastava said 18 Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) were replaced due to faulty battery or non-functional button issues.
The State Election Commissioner (SEC) also casted aside doubts raised on the efficiency of the EVMs.”EVM has proved that it’s un-hackable. It is a robust machine. We have ensured a smooth and fair election. So I don’t think there should be any question related to EVMs. Its performance has been good,” he added.
With counting of votes beginning at 8 a.m. today in 35 centers across the city, as many as 90,000 security personnel of Delhi Police, paramilitary forces and Home Guards would be deployed at counting centres.
The counting will go on till late in the day, but initial trends are expected to come in by 11 a.m. In 2012, BJP had won 59 seats in North Delhi, 44 in South Delhi and 35 seats in East Delhi. Congress had managed to win 77 seats while BSP 15 seats in three civic bodies.