Nearly a year back, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) went all guns blazing at BJP, accusing the party of EVM tampering in Uttar Pradesh. From shouting to everyone that BJP tampered with the Electronic Voting Machine in the poll to even conducting hackathon on live television with their people trying to crack these machines—they did all to inform the people of this country what could have possibly been a reality.
But what happened next?
The ruling party tactfully managed the media to hush this entire issue of voting machine tampering as the paranoia of parties who are losing elections. The serious allegations turned into memes, the news anchor made fun of AAP’s accusations, and very smartly (and bluntly) this topic was pushed under the rug, away from any serious discussion in the public whatsoever.
And now, in by-elections 2018, we’re back to the same spot. The reports of ‘mass voting machine tampering’ is making rounds. And all eyes (minus the bhakts) are on BJP again—what sinister act are they up to?
On Monday, 9 assembly and 4 Lok Sabha constituencies across 10 states went on by-poll. The votes will be counted on 31st May.
News started pouring in from different places of few glitches in the EVMs. And soon it turned out, it wasn’t just a few isolated incidents. There might possibly a mass voting machine tampering attempt that may have been successfully executed by, allegedly, people of BJP.
We saw the opposition raising this issue rigorously. And, as regular days of Indian politics, there was hurl of allegations, counters and some more allegations from both the side. In the midst, we got more details on the glitch. Although the poll panel credited the reports of large-scale malfunction as something exaggerated, it did confirm that 96 balloting units, 84 control units of EVMs and 1,202 VVPATs (Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail Machines) had to be replaced.
The reason behind such glitches was attributed to heat. Few of the experts said that since directly under the exposure of sunlight, the printers that are attached to the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) were bound to malfunction. But this explanation, on many fronts, seems indigestible. For one, how was it possible on such a large scale? If it was so given that this thing would happen, why didn’t the election commission made preliminary arrangements to prevent it? Why are such old machines still in use? And if it was supposed to happen, why didn’t it happen everywhere where the machines were under the exposure of sunlight?
Maybe we’re all exaggerating. Maybe it was really a regular glitch. And maybe whatever happened wasn’t politically motivated. But all being said, one cannot (and SHOULD NOT) rule out the possibility of a foul play here. Regardless the outcome of this by-poll election, it’s time that we pick this issue with much more seriousness and come to a conclusive end before general election 2019. Given just how serious it is, we should not let this topic of vote machine tampering go by without serious discussion and solution-hunting.
Find out whether any political party is behind this, whether we need to get back to the paper ballot to protect the sanctity of election in our country or whether we simply need to update our machines.
Ironical (and sadly), the party that made the most noise about this last year is uneasily quiet. There hasn’t been a single statement from AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal till now.