Voting Fraud in India: EVM Dislikes Coconut, But Likes Lotus

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

Now it is argued that the so-called ‘Modi wave’ was not driven by voters, but it was driven by voting machines.

By Rakesh Raman

After a series of complaints by the major political parties about the vulnerability of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in India, a new 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 to the Buldhana Zilla Parishad.

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It is reported that initially the poll officials dismissed the complaint, but when other voters also complained about the similar glitch, the reelection was ordered.

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.

Earlier, 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.

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

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.

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Mayawati – who is a former chief minister of U.P. – had blamed the BJP headed by PM Modi for the voting fraud. She said that BJP rigged the election by tampering with the EVMs in U.P.

Although BJP rejected Mayawati’s allegations, the BSP leader had filed a complaint against Modi’s party. In its complaint to the Chief Election Commissioner, Mayawati’s BSP had stated that BJP had hired software and technology experts to manipulate the voting machines and win the election.

Mayawati said that similar rigging had happened in the 2014 Lok Sabha election also that Modi won to become the PM. It is believed that the last Lok Sabha election result would not have favoured BJP if the voting had happened on paper ballots.

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

Now it is argued that the so-called ‘Modi wave’ was not driven by voters, but it was driven by voting machines. Obviously, BJP will always oppose paper ballots and any investigation into the misuse of EVMs. And it goes without saying that the Election Commission of India (ECI) will always obey Modi.

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