Having lost the recently held civic polls to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad, nearly 500 candidates of various political parties on Tuesday took out a symbolic funeral march of electronic voting machine (EVM) as a mark of protest against “rigged elections”.
The candidates accused the BJP of tampering with EVMs. The BJP registered shock victories in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad. In Pune, it bagged 98 seats while in neighboring Pimpri-Chinchwad, it won 78 seats, establishing a clear majority in both the towns.
The candidates alleged that the BJP changed the settings of EVMs, ensuring each vote cast goes to its candidates. Manisha Mohite, who contested election on an NCP ticket, said, “I was initially declared elected in the elections. However, after sometime, election commission officials said the winner is the BJP candidate.”
The protests march began from JM Road and concluded at Vaikunth crematorium where the participants symbolically performed last rites on EVM. The participants said they will fight this battle in the Bombay high court where a public interest litigation is to be filed soon. Similar protests were also held in Akola where the BJP is a leading party.
Pune municipal commissioner Kunal Kumar refuted allegations of EVM tampering. “Often when candidates lose elections, they make such claims. If they have evidence to prove that EVMs were tampered, they should bring it to our notice,” said Kumar.
Congress leader Narayan Rane said candidates should accept the defeat instead of citing excuses.