A day after urging the Election Commission of India to conduct the upcoming Delhi MCD elections with ballot papers, instead of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), chief minister Arvind Kejriwal apparently blamed Punjab loss to the polling machines. Claiming foul play in the polls, Kejriwal said that at least 20 to 25 per cent AAP votes were transferred to Siromani Akali Dal (SAD)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) combine. Or else, he asked, “How Akalis got more vote than us”.
During the recently concluded elections in Punjab, Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) could get only 20 seats and its vote share was around 23%. The SAD-BJP won 18 seats with around 31% vote share. Before the polls, AAP had claimed it would sweep Punjab. However, the results came as a shocker even as the party had started celebrations before the final results were announced.
Following the Delhi CM’s claims, many political leaders, including Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal and BJP MP Manoj Tiwari, lashed out at him for raising his doubts over the EVMs.
Harsimrat, who is also the daughter in-law of Akali Dal Chief Parkash Singh Badal, said: “Kejriwal has lost his mental balance so he is saying things like this. He did not say anything when AAP had won 67 seats in Delhi. He should do vipassana (meditation).”
Reacting to Kejriwal’s demand, Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari said in that case fresh polls should be held to the 67 seats won by the AAP in the 2015 Assembly polls.
Such reaction from the opposition was bound to happen, however what is more surprising is that even the AAP people don’t seem to agree with their chief.
Krishan Pratap Singh of the AAP, who has reportedly worked closely with the leaders in Punjab, today took to Twitter and wrote: “I’m afraid @ArvindKejriwal is poorly advised on reasons for AAP’s defeat in Punjab. Nothing to do with EVMs. Conspiracy theories don’t help.”
I’m afraid @ArvindKejriwal is poorly advised on reasons for AAP’s defeat in Punjab. Nothing to do with EVMs. Conspiracy theories don’t help.
— Krishan Partap Singh (@RaisinaSeries) March 15, 2017
To this, actress-turned-politician – Gul Panag agreed and wrote, “These are the same EVMs that helped us win 67.” Notably, Panag was AAP’s candidate from Chandigarh in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
— Gul Panag (@GulPanag) March 15, 2017
As per the Election Commission, EVMs cannot be tampered with and all necessary measures are taken into consideration.
In a statement, the EC clarified: “For the record, India has been successfully using EVM since 2000 and it was first introduced on a pilot basis way back in 1982. In past, courts have hailed the EVMs. In 2001, Madras High Court had rejected the allegations that the poll machine can be tampered with. In 2002, the Kerala High Court had upheld the use of EVMs, while in 2004, the Karanataka High Court had hailed the EVMs as “national pride”. In 2005, the Mumbai High Court had also concluded that EVMs can’t be tampered with.”
“For technical security, the machine is both mechanically and electronically protected to prevent any tampering/manipulation. The software used in these machines is burnt into a One Time programmable/Masked chip (Hardware) so that it cannot be altered or tampered with. Further, these machines are not networked either by wire or by wireless to any other machine or system,” it added.