As our nation continues to be plagued with issues like compromised national security highlighted by recent cross border attacks, threatened internal security highlighted by the recent Maoist attack and a not so rosy job environment as evident by the recent layoffs in IT, there are a lot of issues on which the opposition can constructively corner the government to ensure remedial action.
But instead, the opposition has been hell bent on creating a cacophony over the issue of EVM tampering after the recently concluded assembly elections. The opposition has chosen to question the electoral process rather than accepting the verdict delivered by the people of India.
In order to further the elaborate conspiracy theory of ‘EVM tampering” the opposition has spread some heavy duty lies.
This began when AAP Supremo Arvind Kejriwal, who nowadays is riddled with corruption charges, desperately spread a lie that VVPAT equipped EVMs in Bhind, Madhya Pradesh were registering votes in BJP’s name regardless of the button pressed. It was debunked by us and the whole controversy had begun when low IQ (possibly) journalists took a joke cracked by the Chief Electoral Officer on face value. It was confirmed by various sources that VVPAT machine did not print lotus (BJP symbol) twice even though different buttons were pressed on the EVM.
This propaganda was taken forward by Aaj Tak when it reported that in Dholpur by-polls of Rajasthan, Congress had thrown a tantrum as votes were getting registered in BJP’s favor when people were pressing the Congress’s button on the EVM. This again turned out to be false as the Congress leader himself clarified that there was only issue of an EVM not working, and that there was no case of votes going to BJP regardless of buttons pressed.
Apart from these two incidents, which still are being repeated as truth, another incident cited to cast doubts over the EVMs is a reported case where an independent candidate of BMC had alleged that he received zero votes at his own booth even though he and his family members had voted in his favor. The candidate then called for an investigation in the matter over this ‘suspicious’ incident.
This is what the candidate named Shrikant Shirsat was quoted as saying:
In the last assembly polls, I got 1500 votes. Now, apparently, I have got 44, and from my booth, zero. I voted for myself, my family voted for me and so did my neighbors (on 90-feet Road in Saki Naka) – where did those votes go?
This has also reportedly been quoted by AAP leader Manish Sisodia when he and his party indulged in the live EVM ‘hacking’ in the Delhi assembly on Thursday.
This claim though has now been debunked as a lie according to this Indian Express report. The Maharashtra’s Deputy Election Commissioner was quoted as saying that after an inquiry was ordered, it was found that he hadn’t got zero votes in any of the two polling booths where he was registered as a voter. As reported, he was registered as a voter in booth number 29 and 15. And in both booths he polled 11 and 2 votes respectively.
The official also stated that as he lived near booth number 29, he and his family might have cast the vote there. That is validated by the fact that he received 11 votes there which should cover his family and neighbors.
Also what is interesting is the fact that in his complaint to the state election commission, he had only raised suspicions over the EVMs and had asked for a re-poll. He never mentioned the ‘zero votes’ theory in his complaint.
Now when his lies have been called out, Shrikant Shirsat has stated that he does not wish to comment on the matter.
It remains to be seen whether the Election Commission now takes legal action against Shrisat not just for spreading falsehoods about EVM fraud but also for getting himself registered as a voter in two polling booths. Perhaps such lies need to be punished as they threaten to undermine people’s faith in democracy.