Tanking the conspiracy theories around the EVM head on, Maharashtra Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has taken aim at the opposition and advised them to introspect why they have lost people’s trust instead of passing the buck to the EVMs. Maharashtra CM who is on a state wide ‘Maha Janadesh Yatra’ has also pointed out the same opposition won in many states through the EVM but is now blaming it for their defeat. Speaking at a press conference in Eastern Maharashtra, CM Devendra Fadnavis said, “Accusations against EVMs reflect mistrust in the voters. Instead of blaming EVMs, the opposition should introspect why they have lost connect with the people… That would be a better option than opposing EVMs.” Devendra Fadnavis added, “Instead of finding faults with EVMs, the opposition should go to the people, tell them what wrongs they have done and how they can rectify their mistakes if given a chance again… Now, by questioning EVMs, voters are saying we had voted for the BJP and the opposition is questioning our choice.”
Over the past few months the opposition parties have once again tried to hijack the spotlight by propelling the conspiracy theory around the EVM. Recently MNS Chief Raj Thackeray had also met West Bengal Chief minister who had also demanded that the Electronic Voting Machines be replaced by paper ballots. “I’ve come here to invite Mamata ji for a rally scheduled in Maharashtra on August 21 to demand bringing back ballots in place of EVMs. This will be an anti-EVM movement. She is one of the key leaders in the country, voicing concern against EVMs,” MNS chief told reporters with West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, as she indicated her support for the cause.
Senior NCP leader Sharad Pawar had also called for EVMs to be replaced by ballot papers. “Doubts are being raised over the use of EVMs. Such things should not happen in a democracy. Various parties and organizations have expressed concerns over the use of the machines,” NCP leader told reporters in Mumbai he added “We urge the people to flag the demand of holding the election using ballot papers,” the NCP leader added.
Nonetheless, while these political parties have been in the forefront to push conspiracy theories around EVMs, most of them except two, were absent at Election Commission’s EVM challenge last year which was open to 7 national parties and 49 state parties to challenge and attempt to hack into EVMs. Only parties present at the event were NCP and CPI(M) who also refused to take part in the challenge, however, they were given a detailed demonstration of the EVMs.
“CPM said that they do not want to participate in the challenge and only want to understand and see the whole EVM process. A detailed demonstration was given to them and their technical doubts were cleared in depth,” then chief election commissioner Nasim Zaidi had told reporters. “NCP representatives too said that they do not want to take participate in any challenge and only want to be a part of an academic exercise” Mr Nasim Zaidi had added.
The EC had also introduced VVPATs earlier which had further solidified the security and integrity of the technologically progressive voting method. The effectiveness of VVPATs and EVMs was reiterated in the 2019 general elections when not a single mismatch was reported anywhere out of the 20,625 VVPATs that were tallied, another 100% record that has been maintained since VVPATs were first brought in from 2013-14.
While parties like NCP , AAP, BSP, Congress, TMC, TDP and others keep misleading the electorate through these theories, so much so that AAP MLA Saurabh Bharadwaj even went ahead and conducted a ‘show and tell’ in the Delhi assembly to demonstrate tampering and Congress leader Kapil Sibal was seen in London with a self proclaimed hacking expert making frivolous claims on India’s electoral processes, go underground when they are asked for objective evidence of their claims. Also, when they register electoral victories, the EVMs are not blamed. Often EVMs are blamed by these parties so as to evade questions around their growing irrelevance and rejection by the masses. The comments by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis are sure to resonate with the electorate whose mandate has been continually insulted by these opposition parties.