Assembly Constituency of Dholpur in Rajasthan went for by-polls on Sunday and according to some reports, the polling there wasn’t without its share of controversy. Aaj Tak put out a sensational report titled:
धौलपुर में कांग्रेस का हंगामा, बटन दबाया ‘हाथ’ का खिल रहा है ‘कमल’
Translation: Congress spreads pandemonium in Dholpur as even though button corresponding to ”hand” was pressed it was ”lotus” that was blooming
The report claimed that during polling many voters had complained that even though they had voted for one party, the slip from the VVPAT machine was showing that the vote was registered in the name of another party. VVPAT or voter verified paper audit trail is a system where the machine prints a paper slip with the symbol of the party he voted for after the voter presses the button on EVM.
The report claimed that after investigation, 18 such defective machines were found which were then replaced. The report quoted a certain Rakesh Jain, who alleged that even though he had voted for the Congress the resultant slip was showing BJP. The report also quoted the returning officer as acknowledging Rakesh’s version and also stated that as a result polls were stopped for 2 hrs.
The report also claimed that Congress leader named Banwari Lal Sharma who was contesting the elections claimed that he was informed by party workers that many EVM machines could not be started during the polls and also claimed that there was a malfunction in some EVMs about wrong candidates getting votes.
Later, repolling was ordered at a polling booth numbered 163 of the Dholpur constituency.
The allegation in the Aaj Tak report was very similar to the one Kejriwal had made about EVM’s in Bhind Madhya Pradesh favoring BJP regardless of the button pressed. That lie, created by one media organisation and spread by politicians, was debunked by us and the same was confirmed by the Election Commission later.
The same cycle was repeated after the Aaj Tak reported about the supposedly faulty EVMs in Dholpur. Arvind Kejriwal immediately seized the opportunity and started leveling allegations:
Why defectiv EVMs voting only BJP? They not “defective”. Their software changed. Let EC give us one of these EVM, we’ll prove they r tamperd https://t.co/BOzfKcMwTZ
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) April 9, 2017
But unfortunately for Kejriwal and his supporters, this report by Aaj Tak too seems to have been debunked. According to this Indian Express report, the Aaj Tak report was erroneous.
The Indian Express quoted Rajasthan’s Chief Electoral Officer who claimed that the Collector of Dholpur had probed the allegations and found the media reports which had made such claims to be false. He also claimed that the voter and the Congress candidate who were quoted by Aaj Tak have given in writing that they had made no such complaints.
To get Aaj Tak’s version, Indian Express sent a mail to the Hindi news channel, but they couldn’t get any response.
Some people in Aaj Tak asked the Indian Express ‘off the record’ as to why a repolling was ordered if everything was fine. The Chief Electoral Officer addressed that question and clarified that repolling was ordered because mock voting data wasn’t erased from the EVM’s after their trial on Saturday.
So it appears another case of erroneous (on purpose?) reporting about EVMs that was used by Arvind Kejriwal and his supporters to push a propaganda.