Electronic voting machines (EVMs) have been in the news ever since BSP supremo Mayawati blamed rigging of the electoral machines for her party’s poor showing in the Uttar Pradesh polls. One of the first people to take heed of her concerns was outgoing chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, who said the government should probe the voting machines “if a question has been raised”.
Here’s a look at the developments that took place since then:
AAP, Cong seek paper ballots for MCD polls
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday directed chief secretary MM Kutty to write to the state election commissioner, asking him to hold the upcoming municipal elections through ballot papers. Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken also made a similar demand. “Serious doubts have cropped up in the minds of voters as to the free-and-fair nature of the electoral process. We demand that these elections be held using the traditional ballot system,” he said. The civic polls will be held on April 22.
BJP retaliates, mocks Kejriwal over demand
BJP leaders, however, criticised the Delhi chief minister’s allegations by asking how their party lost the Delhi and Bihar assembly elections if EVMs were tampered in the saffron party’s favour. Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari told ANI that if Kejriwal harboured doubts about EVMs, he should also demand re-election in 67 of the 70 assembly seats in Delhi from where his party won in 2015.
EC defends EVMs, says charges baseless
The Election Commission of India – which conducts all parliamentary and state assembly elections – ruled out the possibility of EVM manipulation. The electoral body pointed out that even in the past, it had invited petitioners who approached court against the use of technology to “prove their charges”. The election panel said EVMs were tamper-proof, and their security was being increased further.
Voting machines come under house panel scanner
Despite the Election Commission’s protests, EVMs have come under the scanner of a parliamentary panel – which has decided to invite Indian as well as international experts to examine whether they can be tampered with. It took the decision after noting that several people have expressed doubts over the reliability of the voting machines.
BSP continues to protest ‘rigged EVMs’
Meanwhile, BSP supporters remained adamant in their demand for re-polling through ballot papers in view of the alleged manipulation of the voting machines. Party supporters gathered at Hanuman Nagar on Tuesday, alleging that the votes went to the BJP no matter which button was pressed. “The results were shocking because a BJP candidate won from this constituency, despite the BSP having a huge support base here,” said a protester.