When the polling for the first phase of Gujarat election commenced, so did the conspiracy theories which alleged rampant EVM malfunctioning and hacking.
We reported how, almost hours after the polling began, Twitter users accused NDTV of spreading panic about malfunctioning EVMs. Later, things were taken to the next level after controversial journalist Sagarika Ghose decided to spread amusing allegations about EVMs getting hacked via Bluetooth signals.
The EVM tampering angle kept growing and yesterday on counting day, both AAP and Congress leaders came up with similar allegations to possibly defend against their poor performance in the state:
— Sanjay Nirupam (@sanjaynirupam) December 18, 2017
— Preeti Sharma Menon (@PreetiSMenon) December 18, 2017
As reported, the Election Commission officials have claimed that random vote counts in 182 seats of the state and their corresponding VVPAT paper trail have proved to be a 100% match, which means that there was no discrepancy in what button the voter had pressed and what the EVM consequently registered in its system.
This exercise of checking random vote counts was announced by the Election Commission to counter the allegations that the EVMs were manipulated in BJP’s favour.
In order to make these checks, polling stations in each constituency were selected on random via a lottery. This lottery too was transparent and representatives of all the political parties were present during the process.
As per various former Chief Election Commissioners like T S Krishnamurthy, N Gopalaswami, S Y Quraishi and H S Brahma, this cliffhanger result where the BJP barely managed to cross the majority mark, should be enough to quell apprehensions about the EVMs.
It remains to be seen whether the political parties would take a leaf out of the Election Commission’s page and stop questioning the credibility of the EVMs. But that may not be the case after all, as the Congress party had recently knocked on the Supreme Court’s doors, asking for a manual counting of at-least 20% of paper slips in each constituency. The Supreme Court had refused to entertain this plea.