Congress alleges EVM rigging after Karnataka verdict, Oppn pushes for return to ballot voting
The Congress alleged that in Karnataka, too, the electoral process was rigged and has decided to escalate its demand for restoration of ballot paper-based voting in future elections.Updated: May 16, 2018, 07:40 IST
The Congress has decided to escalate its demand for restoration of ballot paper-based voting in future elections in the wake of allegations of tampering of electronic voting machines (EVMs).
The Congress alleged that in Karnataka, too, the electoral process was rigged.
“Every survey showed Siddaramaiah as Karnataka’s first choice but that did not get reflected in the results. People voted for one party but the votes went to another. Every political party should contemplate where the country is headed,” Congress general secretary Mohan Prakash said.
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray also challenged the BJP to hold elections through ballot papers to clear doubts over the use of EVMs. “If you (BJP) trust yourself, hold elections through ballot papers once,” he said in Mumbai after the Karnataka results. “When so many people are asking for it, it will clear apprehensions once and for all.”
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray agreed with his cousin. “This is a victory for the EVM,” he tweeted.
A Congress strategist, who refused to be identified, said the party would try to bring all the opposition parties on board and make the move to return to ballot papers a national campaign.
“We have been raising this issue but will take it forward vociferously now,” he said.
In the political resolution adopted at its 84th plenary session in Delhi in March, the Congress urged the election commission to revert to ballot papers from EVMs, which have come under scrutiny following tampering allegations.
“There are apprehensions among political parties and the people over the misuse of EVMs to manipulate the outcome contrary to the popular verdict. To ensure the credibility of the electoral process, the EC should revert to the old practice of paper ballot, as most major democracies have done,” it said.
The Congress, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and other opposition parties have already knocked at the doors of the President and the election commission, alleging rigging of voting machines after the BJP’s unexpectedly massive victory in Uttar Pradesh elections in 2017. At that time, the election commission had rejected the charge.
After the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, when the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) emerged victorious for the second time in a row, BJP veteran LK Advani too had raised doubts about the possibility of EVMs malfunctioning.
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) termed the BJP’s performance in Karnataka as “unbelievable” and claimed that the results were not in sync with the situation on the ground.
Demanding that all elections in future be held through ballot papers, Maharashtra NCP president Jayant Patil said there was a difference between what was in people’s minds and the actual results.
Reacting to the allegations, BJP’s media department chief and Rajya Sabha MP, Anil Baluni, said:“Why is it that whenever BJP wins, these forces suddenly remember the EVM theory? They never seem to think it is malfunctioning when we lose. This itself exposes them and their hypocrisy.”