FactCheck: Did a Saharanpur candidate fail to get a single vote due to ‘faulty EVM’?

EVM related conspiracy theories have been the flavour of the past year or so, even though most such theories and claims have no basis and have been debunked. Earlier this year, reports of a faulty EVM emanated from Madhya Pradesh, which were eventually proved to be fake news. Similar fake news about an EVM was also reported from Rajasthan. Delhi CM Kejriwal was also party to spreading such rumours.

Yesterday, a similar news report surfaced from Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur. According to reports, a candidate named Shabana from Ward 54 of Saharanpur, had alleged that she had got zero votes, hence she had questioned where did her own vote go?

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The same story was rehashed by Congress mouthpiece National Herald:

So what is the truth? From the UP State Election Commission’s site, the result for Ward 54 of Saharanpur is available for all to see. Firstly, the winning candidate is one Mehraj Bano, an independent:

If indeed the EVM’s were tampered with, then it would be herculean task for an independent candidate to manage this feat. Secondly, all the other candidates lost their deposit, including the independent Shabana, who got only 87 votes, and not zero votes, as claimed by her in above reports:

AAP leaning journalist Ashutosh Mishra also posted a video of Shabana, where she made the allegations. While the news reports mentioned above are silent, in the video, the claim is made that in specific booth numbers (87 and 88 as per Shabana, and 387 and 388 as per her husband), Shabana did not get any vote. Her husband also claimed that he himself had voted from these booths but she did not get any vote.

The UP Election Commission site does not given booth-wise breakup of votes. But from the above list of candidates, one can note that there are two candidates named “Shabana” in the fray: One is the independent who has made the claim, with 87 votes, and the other is a Samajwadi Party candidate who received 1100 votes.

While the claim that the Independent Shabana got zero votes is wrong (since she got 87 votes), one cannot verify the claim that she got zero votes from 2 specific booths, the numbers of which are not clear.

While the rumour mill worked overtime, a Twitter user came up with an explanation for this entire fiasco.

At this point, neither of the claims can be verified. But it is intriguing how for so many people, EVMs magically start malfunctioning only when BJP wins, and not when BJP loses, Punjab for example.

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