Despite Frauds, Assembly Elections to be Held with EVMs

Every Indian Vote Counts. Photo: ECI
Every Indian Vote Counts. Photo: ECI

It is being repeatedly complained that when EVMs malfunction, they vote only in favor of Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi’s BJP which runs with Lotus election symbol.

By Rakesh Raman

The Election Commission of India has decided to use Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and VVPATs in all polling stations for the bye-elections of State Legislative Assemblies of Andhra Pradesh, Goa, and NCT of Delhi.

The Election Commission informed today that adequate numbers of EVMs have been made available and all steps have been taken to ensure that the polls are conducted smoothly with the help of these machines.

The Commission has taken this decision despite the fact that the major political parties have repeatedly complained about the vulnerability of EVMs.

A recent RTI query has revealed that EVMs can be tampered to elect a particular candidate. The RTI information reveals that when a voter pressed the Button No. 1 to vote for a candidate with the Coconut symbol, the light lit up for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate at Button No. 4 which had the Lotus symbol.

As a result of the complaint by the voter about the malfunctioning of EVM, the State Election Commission (SEC) ordered to hold fresh election at a polling centre in Sultanpur during the February 2017 polls for the Buldhana Zilla Parishad.

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It is also being repeatedly complained that when EVMs malfunction, they vote only in favor of Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi’s BJP which runs with Lotus election symbol.

According to the Election Commission, there are following clear vacancies in State Legislative Assemblies of various States/UT, which need to be filled up:

Sl. No. State Name & No. of  Assembly Constituency
1 Andhra Pradesh 139 – Nandyal AC
2 Goa 19 – Valpoi AC
11 – Panaji AC
3 NCT of Delhi 07 –  Bawana (SC) AC

The Commission has decided to hold bye-elections to fill these vacancies as per the programme given below:

Poll Events Andhra Pradesh, Goa and Delhi
Date of Issue of Gazette Notification 29.07.2017 (SAT)
Last Date of Nomination 05.08.2017 (SAT)
Date for Scrutiny of Nomination 07.08.2017 (MON)
Last Date of Withdrawal of candidatures 09.08.2017 (WED)
Date of Poll 23.08.2017 (WED)
Date of Counting 28.08.2017 (MON)
Date before which election shall be completed 31.08.2017 (THU)

The Commission has decided that the voter’s identification shall be mandatory in the bye- elections at the time of poll. Electoral Photo Identity Cards (EPIC) will be the main document of identification of a voter.

However, in order to ensure that no voter is deprived of their franchise, if their name figures in the Electoral Rolls, separate instructions will be issued to allow additional documents for identification of voters at the time of poll in the said bye-elections.

By Rakesh Raman, who is a government’s National award-winning journalist. He had been associated with the United Nations (UN) through United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) as a digital media expert to help businesses use technology for brand marketing and business development. He also runs a free school for deserving children under his NGO – RMN Foundation.

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Rakesh Raman