Thursday, 20 February 2020

EVMs: Last straw for drowning Kejri-Mayawati

Updated: April 5, 2017 12:18 pm

It is travesty of Indian politics that if a person wins an election, he gives credit to his popularity. If he loses, he puts the blame on opponents. Most of our political parties seem to have developed allergy to digest electoral defeat. Not many possess sportsman spirit to accept the reality of defeat. EVMs are handy scapegoats. The just-concluded assembly elections in Punjab and UP have thrown up two leaders — BSP supremo Mayawati in UP and AAP supremo and Delhi CM Kejriwal in Punjab — who are not willing to open their eyes to the glaze of the drubbing.

It looks Kejriwal had the premonition of his party not being favoured for power by the Punjab electorate. That is why immediately after polling he started making ground by alleging lack of security of EVMs. The Election Commission (EC) made spot inspections and declared that these were safe. The AAP leaders, according to Press reports, had also put their own volunteers round-the-clock to keep a watch if any attempt from outside was made to tamper with EVMs.

Kejriwal has earned the distinction of being a leader who can make any allegations without taking the trouble of collecting proof.  Before counting for Delhi assembly elections in 2015, he had alleged massive rigging to defeat his party. When he won 67 of 70 seats, he forgot his own words. Does Kejriwal owe his party’s unprecedented majority to the “rigging” he alleged?

Mayawati and Kejriwal are products of EVMs which threw them into power—Mayawati in 2007 and Kejriwal in 2015. When the results were favourable, these very EVMs, to them, reflected the true will of the people. When the outcome was opposite, these looked tampered and defective to them.

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Their action is akin to that of a spoiled child for whom his mother is a goddess incarnate as long as she continues to dote on him ignoring and hiding all his faults, failures and misdemeanours. But the moment she starts scolding and threatening him for all his shortcomings, she turns a dayan (witch).

In the past, when elections were conducted using paper ballots, there were allegations of mass rigging, booth capturing and preventing certain sections of people from exercising their right to franchise. It was to overcome these problems that the EC gradually replaced paper ballots with EVMs. In the past and recently too, doubts have been raised on the efficacy and reliability of these machines. These were got inspected by experts who certified these as tamper-proof.

Law and investigations proceed on the strength of proof and not on the basis of suspicions and hearsay using words like “may” and “could have been”. Both Mayawati and Kejriwal have not come out with specific allegations regarding EVMs in a particular booth or constituency. Their allegations are general, of the nature anyone can make. They should have come out with concrete allegations and proof.

Needless to mention that just within a week of hurling such wild allegations, Kejriwal on March 18 told his party workers in Delhi: “We are not Napoleon to win election after election, cover territories”. Is he not contradicting himself?

Our leaders definitely need to take steps to keep high the morale of party workers but not at the cost of defaming a machinery and institution. It is certainly not a moral and healthy politics. It is dangerous to the institution of elections and democracy which we, otherwise, swear to protect at all costs.

By Amba Charan Vashishth 

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