Modi Wins with EVMs! Opposition Parties Demand Elections with Paper Ballots

Every Indian Vote Counts
Every Indian Vote Counts

Major political parties in India have repeatedly complained about the vulnerability of EVMs. It is also being observed that when EVMs malfunction, they vote only in favor of Modi’s BJP.

By Rakesh Raman

As the controversy surrounding the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in Indian elections has become a political hot potato, major opposition parties are again expressing their concerns ahead of Assembly elections and Lok Sabha election.

In their meeting with the Election Commission of India (ECI) today, a number of opposition parties led by Congress are expected to reiterate their demand for paper ballots for future elections.

The ECI has called a meeting with all recognized political parties today (27th August, 2018) in New Delhi. All 7 registered national political parties and 51 state political parties have been invited to participate in the meeting.

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At least 17 parties have been demanding elections on ballot papers. They include Congress, Trinamool Congress (TMC), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S), Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Samajwadi Party, CPI-M, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), DMK, CPI, YSR Congress, Kerala Congress Mani (KCM), and AIUDF.

Although the ruling party BJP of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in favor of EVMs, the opposition parties have raised serious doubts about the security of these machines.

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Major political parties in India have repeatedly complained about the vulnerability of EVMs. It is also being observed that when EVMs malfunction, they vote only in favor of Modi’s BJP which runs with Lotus election symbol.

However, BJP dismisses these concerns. Earlier this month, BJP president Amit Shah advised the opposition parties that instead of blaming the EVMs for their defeats in elections, they should listen to the voters.

He counted the examples of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Delhi as well as Congress that has formed the governments in Punjab and Karnataka by winning the elections with EVMs.

The BJP president said if opposition parties kept finding the reasons for their defeat in EVMs, their defeat is certain in 2019 Lok Sabha election.

But opposition parties believe that BJP is using EVMs strategically to win important elections such as the Uttar Pradesh (U.P) election.

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Mayawati had complained about the EVM-based voting fraud in the Uttar Pradesh (U.P) election. But India’s Election Commission had rejected her complaint.

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As the vulnerabilities of EVMs are becoming quite visible, besides Mayawati other politicians have been demanding voting on traditional ballot papers.

This article is part of our exclusive editorial section that focuses on Lok Sabha Election 2019 in India.

The president of Delhi State Congress, Ajay Maken, had said that the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) election should be held on traditional ballot papers instead of EVMs.

Maken had asked Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal to support the demand to hold MCD election on ballot papers because many people have raised doubts about EVMs.

The election authorities – which work under Modi government – refused to entertain the opposition complaints. The MCD election was held on EVMs. Obviously, BJP won.

It is again expected that despite the complaints from opposition parties, the ECI will hold the Assembly elections as well as the Lok Sabha election with EVMs. Therefore, BJP can once again hope to win.

By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. Besides working at senior editorial positions with leading media companies, he was writing an exclusive edit-page tech business column (named Technophile) regularly for The Financial Express (a daily business newspaper of The Indian Express Group).

Earlier, 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 has formed a free Education and Career Counselling Center for deserving children at a poor J.J. Colony in Dwarka, New Delhi under his NGO – RMN Foundation.

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