Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

EVMs

Many politicians blame electronic voting machines when they lose elections. Other losers have blamed EVMs at different times. When same politicians win elections they don’t say EVMs wrong or were tampered with. In 2009 BJP blamed EVMs for Lok Sabha loss. In 2014 BJP won Lok Sabha elections did not have problem with EVMs. When AIADMK won elections it claimed EVMs were right and when it lost it claimed EVMs were wrong.
This time Mayawati started the controversy surrounding EVMs. She got 19 seats out of 403 in UP Legislative Assembly. She said she lost due to EVMs. She said when one journalist said EVMs were programmed to benefit BJP and whichever button one may press the vote will go to BJP she did not believe it but after her defeat she believed EVMs were rigged. Arvind Kejriwal joined her and blamed AAP loss in Punjab to EVM rigging. AAP got 20 seats out of 117 in Punjab. Congress got 77. Some pollsters had predicted AAP victory in Punjab and some tough fight between AAP and Congress. Later Akhilesh Yadav also spoke against EVMs. SP-Congress alliance had done badly in UP.
Now BJP leaders think there is no defect in EVMs. Any defect is in politicians of other parties. Faith in EVMs depends on whether one wins or loses.
Election Commission of India has defended EVMs. Opponents of EVMs give examples of countries like Norway and Ireland which abandoned EVMs. India should not follow the example of such countries. Their population is less than five million. Many Indian cities have more population than that. Opponents of EVMs had gone to Supreme Court and the matter was settled in favour of EVMs. Those opponents now find EVMs perfect. TV channels giving undue publicity to people who oppose EVMs is not good. Anchors should question them whether their victories in the past were due to defective EVMs. ECI and former Chief Election Commissioners and Election Commissioners should continue defending EVMs. Abandoning EVMs will be a regressive step. Rigging is possible with ballot papers. It is rigging when ballot papers are divided into bundles of 50 party-wise and the top ballot paper has vote for BJP and the remaining 49 ballot papers have votes for some other party or candidate.
ECI should see that there is no long gap between voting and counting. Voting in Punjab was on 4 February, counting on 11 March. UP had seven phases of election. Guarding EVMs for many days is a problem. Election or voting in a state should be on a single day and counting should be next day at 8 a.m. Counting in one state should not be delayed because of voting in another state some days later on.

Updated: March 18, 2017 — 8:08 am

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