Delhi Poll Results: Should We Still Question The Credibility Of EVMs?

13 February 2020

Debashish Maharana

Bhubaneswar: A bad workman blames his tools! It is often seen after the election results are declared, the losing sides comes up with weird narratives to justify their loss. Rigging, bribing voters, booth capturing are some of these justifications, and the latest – ‘malfunctioning EVMs’.

After the introduction of EVMs, the polling system in India has been streamlined extensively. But the EVMs have always been the bone of contention between winning and losing side. While experts have time and again vouched for the authenticity of EVMs in India, political parties which lose elections blame EVMs to be faulty.

A forerunner leading this movement of casting aspersions on EVMs has been the Aam Aadmi Party. Be it a municipal election, Assembly polls or the Lok Sabha election of 2019, AAP has never failed to raise a finger at the credibility of EVMs.

However, it is the same party which has won Delhi Assembly elections convincingly, Twice! Interestingly,  on these two occasions, 2015 and 2020 Delhi polls, AAP never blamed the EVMs to be faulty. In 2015 AAP won 67 out of 70 seats and this time, the party won 62 seats in Delhi assembly polls.

So why this disparity? When a party wins the elections, its leaders are mum on the EVMs. The moment they lose, the EVMs become faulty overnight!

OMMCOM NEWS team sought the opinion of intellectuals on this issue surrounding EVMs.

City-based senior journalist Prabhu Kalyan Mahapatra said that political parties blame EVMs when the results are not in their favour. “In the past, the AAP had alleged that EVMs are being tampered. In case it would have lost the Delhi polls this time, am sure, they would have attributed the defeat to EVM malfunctioning.”

“If the EVMs are faulty, all political parties should come forward and recommend alternatives. But these sort of allegations always come in silos (from losing sides), Therefore EVM tampering is a baseless allegation,” Mahapatra added.

Whether the vote gets registered in favour of a party which the voter casts his/her vote was a matter of concern with EVMs. Therefore the VVPAT system was introduced, said the veteran scribe, Rabi Das. With the VVPAT slips the voter can confirm that his/her vote has been rightly polled.

“There is no scope of complaint or manipulation in this new system. There is transparency and in case there is any doubt, the VVPAT of the same booth can be calculated,” added Das.

However, the AAP leaders say that there is scope of tampering in the system. We have demanded that the VVPAT slips be cross-matched, said AAP Odisha Convener, Nishikant Mahapatra. “The Election Commission of India has agreed and is cross-matching five per cent of the total VVPAT slips. But we demand the number should be increased to 25 per cent,” added Mishra.

All said and done, political parties on the losing court will always find a technical reason or another to justify their loss. As stated above, if the ECI agrees to cross-matching 25 per cent of VVPAT slips, there is a strong possibility that the unsuccessful party might come up with a demand of tallying 50 per cent of the total slips!

Prabhu Kalyan Mahapatra, Senior Journalist

Rabi Das, Senior Journalist

Nishikant Mahapatra, Convener, AAP, Odisha