The recovery of eight Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trial (VVPAT) boxes in a shed in Managuli village in Vijayapura district of Karnataka has triggered a fresh war of words between the Congress and BJP, with both the parties alleging foul play in the conduct of elections. The parties have attributed the hung verdict to the foul play in Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and demanded that the Election Commission take a serious note of the matter.
The Congress said that the party’s poor show in the elections could be due to the foul plays in EVMs. In an interview published in The Times of India, party’s state unit president G Parameshwara, who is all set to be inducted into the new Cabinet, said that reports of foul play in EVMs could be the reason behind Congress’ poor tally, adding that the internal survey conducted by the party had predicted between 120 and 127 seats.
“We were not expecting these results at all… our internal surveys had given us 120 to 127 seats. We were definitely expecting more than 120. Our report card was not negative at all,” the daily quoted him as saying. The Congress party won 78 seats in the recently held assembly election, 44 less than it had bagged in 2013.
Parameshwara also noted that the party performed poor in the regions where reports of foul play have been reported. “There are reports of VVPAT case boxes being found in Vijayapura. How did that happen?” he questioned. “We suspect that they have been clever enough not to indulge in foul play in all the 224 constituencies, but in selected ones.”
Meanwhile, BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa has also written to the Election Commission highlighting the seriousness of the issue. He said that the VVPAT machines found abandoned indicates irregularities in the conduct of elections. “I am of firm belief that Election Commission has taken a serious note of VVPAT machines found abandoned in a shed near Managuli village in Vijayapur district,” he said in his letter.
Yeddyurappa noted that this is not the first time that irregularities were brought to the notice of the Election Commission and officials holding elections at ground level. “Prior to polling we brought many such irregularities to notice of concerned officials, but in vain,” he added in his letter.
On Monday, BJP MP Shobha Karandlaje had demanded that the Election Commission look into the matter thoroughly and check if it had any bearing on the results.