Mayawati to take EVM war to court

The Asian Age.

India, All India

Kejriwal blames voting machines for AAP’s Punjab loss; Centre rubbishes charges.

BSP chief Mayawati

New Delhi/Lucknow: Licking their wounds after a resounding drubbing in the Assembly polls, BSP supreme Mayawati and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal continued to blame the Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) for their losses. While Ms Mayawati threatened to move court, Mr Kejirwal alleged that EVM tampering may have led to AAP’s poor showing in Punjab and Goa.

“After we did not get a proper reply from the Election Commission on our complaint lodged with them soon after the results were announced on March 11, the party has decided to go to court in this matter so as to save (the country) from such a fraud in the future and save democracy,” Ms Mayawati said in Lucknow.

She also said that the BSP has decided to observe a “black day” every month against the “murder of democracy” by the BJP and charged that the saffron victory in UP smacked of “dishonesty” and “fraud.”

Her party had been decimated in the recent Assembly polls in UP where it finished a distant third winning 19 seats in the 403-member House while the Aam Aadmi Party(AAP) making a debut in Punjab bagged 20 seats in the 117-member Assembly. The ruling SAD-BJP combine was trounced in Punjab.

“Our party has also decided to launch an agitation in Uttar Pradesh and other states to expose this fraud... The party will observe ‘black day’ at all the district headquarters in UP and state headquarters in other states on the 11th of every month, the date on which they murdered democracy, and the first demonstration will be on April 11,” the BSP leader said ahead of a review meeting on the party’s debacle.

BSP had 80 MLAs in the outgoing Assembly. Mr Kejriwal said that before the 2014 general elections, some BJP leaders like L.K. Advani were also not in favour of EVMs.

He raised questions about the EVMs in the Punjab assembly polls, saying 20 per cent to 25 per cent of AAP votes were transferred to the Akali-BJP coalition which was in power in the state.

Mr Kejriwal declared that his party was expected to win the elections. “What then, went wrong? There was no word of Congress coming to power... yet they swept the elections... really don’t know how that happened.”

Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, daughter in-law of Akali Dal Chief Parkash Singh Badal, was quick to hit back. “He (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.”

The BJP was quick to hit back ridiculing the BSP chief’s allegations and asked her to “gracefully accept the people’s mandate.” “When you win, EVMs are right. When you lose, EVMs are wrong. This shows that there are some defects in you (Mayawati),” Union Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu told reporters outside Parliament.

He said EVMs are under the control of the EC which has dubbed the the allegations as “wrong”. “You should gracefully accept the people’s mandate. People have rejected you (BSP),” Naidu said.

Party’s UP chief Keshav Prasad Maurya, whose name has been doing the rounds for CM, said,  “When Mayawati and SP leader Akhilesh Yadav had won the elections, the EVMs were okay but when BJP won, EVMs are not okay. Mayawati should get herself treated by some good doctor.”