West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has once again added her voice to the growing demand for an investigation into the alleged tampering of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the recently-concluded assembly elections.
“You can’t win elections every time by hijacking EVMs. I didn’t contest but had I done so, I would have counted from 1 to 10. Those who had contested the elections should have demanded a probe,” she said at a public rally in Kharagpur in West Midnapore district on Monday.
“I think there should be a probe. Even the ones that were used in the polls, they should be subjected to a sample survey,” she added.
Her comments came close on the heels of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and Congress’ allegations about faulty EVMs. They have even said that the tampered EVMs affected their performance in the assembly elections.
On Monday, Kejriwal asked the Election Commission to release the EVMs for an investigation into allegations of tampering and rigging and said his “experts” can show in 72 hours how the machines could be tampered to suit a political party.
The poll panel rejected Kejriwal allegations as “completely baseless” and said that they were made without verifying the facts.
In March, Banerjee had said the Election Commission should convene an all-party meet amid allegations of tampering of EVMs in the assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh.
Several political parties have raised doubts over the reliability of the EVMs after the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) unexpectedly massive victory in Uttar Pradesh elections last month.
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati had also blamed faulty EVMs for her party’s rout in the UP assembly elections. Kejriwal, the Samajwadi Party as well as the Congress had echoed those allegations. At the time, the poll watchdog had rejected the charge.
These parties have demanded that EVMs should not be used for elections unless equipped with a Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) facility.
The issue of faulty EVMs in back in the news after reports that a VVPAT machine used during a trial in Madhya Pradesh’s Bhind only dispensed slips with the ruling BJP’s poll symbol.