New Delhi: The Election Commission (EC) Monday issued a full-page advertisement in newspapers to defend Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), two days after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the BJP might attempt to rig them in the coming assembly elections.
The EC ad listed the names of different political parties, alongside the votes each of them has polled in successive elections and the number of seats they won. This was meant to emphasise that different parties have managed to win elections in India, and the polling process thus isn’t rigged.
A rare initiative from the EC, the ad termed EVMs and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) “the pride of Indian democracy”.
The EC’s attempt to bolster voter confidence in the machines came close on the heels of Banerjee asking workers of her Trinamool Congress to be on guard at polling booths since the “BJP may attempt to rig the EVMs”.
“They (BJP) may create a snag in the EVMs. I am requesting my workers not to leave the place. Wait at the polling booth. When the new machine comes, ask officials to switch on and switch off the machine twice,” she said.
“My youth workers need to work harder. Now they are working 12 hours a day. But they need to work 18 hours a day because BJP goons will try to rig EVMs,” she added. “After polling, make teams with separate colour jerseys to guard the EVMs. While guarding EVMs, don’t accept anything like tea and snacks from anyone. It could be mixed with sedatives. If we have to fight against the evil forces, then we have to remain careful,” she said.
Mamata’s allegations had led Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take a jibe at her during a rally in Bengal Sunday, where he said the Trinamool Congress supremo was training her guns at the EVMs because she was anticipating defeat in the upcoming polls.
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EC vs Mamata
Ever since the eight-phase polls for West Bengal have been announced by the EC, the TMC chief has accused the poll watchdog of biased conduct.
Last week, Banerjee said, “It is becoming increasingly clear that free, fair and transparent elections in the state of West Bengal are becoming a distant reality. This is evident from the partisan and biased approach taken by the Election Commission of India.”
The EC subsequently wrote a strongly-worded letter to the Trinamool Congress, asking the party to not make insinuations about its conduct and its alleged proximity to a particular political party.
While a full-page newspaper ad in support of EVMs may be rare, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora has time and again stated that the victories of a range of political parties in polls held over the last few years stand testimony to the fact that EVMs cannot be rigged in the favour of any political party.
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From time to time Election Commission has given opportunity to all Political parties to demonstrate if the EVMs can be rigged. So far the Congress & other BJP opposing parties are crying over rigging & the challenge the EC gave to the parties to demonstrate the rigging no one have the technology of rigging the EVMs is forthcoming. The allegations making by political parties is only because they are afraid of their losing the poll. EVMs are highly reliable voting machines which every one has to trust.
Since no political party has produced any shred of evidence of tampering rising to a scale of “rigging of EVMs” it is not enough that the press reports the allegations of these parties. The reporting is not completing without a pointer to the fact that there is no shred of evidence. We cannot let an institution like the Election Commission to completely defend on its own against unfounded allegations and complain about the weakening of democracy in India.
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