Arvind Kejriwal: Why did all defective EVMs favour BJP?

The Asian Age.

Metros, Delhi

Kejriwal reiterates claim that voting machines were tampered with, urges EC to use paper ballot.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia emerge after a meeting at the Chief Election Commission in New Delhi. (Photo: Biplab Banerjee)

New Delhi: Raising the pitch for re-introduction of paper ballot for the elections across the country, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday urged the Election Commission to probe cases of faulty Electronic Voting Machines to ascertain if they were tampered with to favour the Bharatiya Janata Party in the recent elections.

Citing Friday’s case of Madhya Pradesh, where an EVM — during a demonstration to media — printed slips of the BJP irrespective of whichever button was pressed, Mr Kejriwal said that it was not an isolated incident and demanded a probe into it.

“I have been repeatedly saying that these machines are being tampered with at a large scale. Similar machines surfaced in Assam and Delhi Cantonment where no matter which party you vote for, the vote only goes to the BJP,” he said.

He asked why it was that every defective machine favoured the BJP and not any other political party. “It means these machines are being tampered with and their software have been changed.”

Mr Kejriwal said that while the “EC says that the chips of the EVMs can’t be written on, it clearly doesn’t seem to be the case”.

The Delhi chief minister added that before the elections, the EC conducts demonstrations of 20-25 machines. If any machine is found to be defective, they change it but don’t order for any inquiry.” In Delhi’s civic polls, 12,000 machines are going to be used. They all can’t be checked. If one machine is found to be defective, it raises questions about the others too,” he said.

The AAP leader said, “Friday’s Madhya Pradesh incident raises big questions like-if elections in India were being conducted in a fair manner and if people are casting their votes or are machines doing it?” he asked. “ Mr Kejriwal said that in all three incidents, where the defective machines were found, the EC did not issue any inquiry about tampering.

“I have demanded that a technical investigation into all these incidents is to be conducted so it could be found if the machines were tampered with, if so, who was responsible,” he said. “Otherwise, no matter who people vote for, only lotus would bloom from the ‘keechad’ of EVMs,” he added, in a reference to the lotus symbol of the BJP.

The Delhi civic polls will be conducted on April 23 and results will be declared on April 26.

The chorus against EVMs gained momentum after the recently held Assembly elections in five states. Opposition parties, including the AAP and Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party, raised the issue with some alleging that EVM tampering helped the BJP.