Death, taxes and opposition parties blaming EVMs for the defeat in elections. Some things are certain in life. Wednesday was no different. As the NDA pulled ahead of the Mahagathbandhan in Bihar as results continued to be declared during the day, opposition party leaders and their enthusiastic supporters on social media spread conspiracy theories about EVMs in order to delegitimise the results of the elections.
Justifications invented for their EVM manipulation conspiracy theories were quite creative this year with popular Congress leader Udit Raj leading the way. He claimed that at an age when humans can control satellites on the moon and Mars sitting on Earth, EVMs are like putty. He also claimed that some boys nobody has heard of were caught manipulating EVMs in Haryana using Bluetooth.
EVMs should go even if Congress wins. If one can control satellite on Moon & Mars from ground,then what is EVM in front of them? During recent Haryana polls, few boys were caught hacking EVMs through bluetooth. I'm saying it for all polls, not just Bihar: Congress leader Udit Raj https://t.co/xsuV2o4oR8 pic.twitter.com/p5WjVxwFJ0— ANI (@ANI) November 10, 2020
In the United States, when election results differ widely from what pollsters predict, citizens and political commentators agree that polls were wrong and pollsters have to face a lot of flak. In India, when results contradict pollsters, political commentators declare that the results are wrong. Sanjukta Basu, an ardent supporter of Rahul Gandhi, asserted on Tuesday that opinion polls were valid grounds to doubt the integrity of EVMs.
Demonstrating a stellar lack of self-awareness, socio-political activist Yash Meghwal declared that only conspiracy theories could save US President Donald Trump and only EVMs could save Narendra Modi. Meghwal does not appear to realise that EVM manipulation allegations are conspiracy theories and he is peddling a conspiracy theory himself.
Another activist, Hansraj Meena, claimed that ‘EVM magic has started’. It was presumably tweeted when it became clear that the NDA was pulling away from the Mahagathbandhan.
While some were at least trying to pretend that they are not sore losers while peddling EVM manipulation conspiracy theories, others were having a much harder time maintaining that pretense. Pushpam Priya Choudhary, founder of the Plurals Party, which appears to be contesting the Bihar Assembly Elections for the first time, declared that her votes were stolen.
SEE BOOTHWISE DATA, PLURALS VOTES STOLEN!— Pushpam Priya Choudhary (@pushpampc13) November 10, 2020
She also declared, in capital letters, that EVMs have been hacked in Bihar. She has specifically accused the BJP of rigging the elections and transferring votes cast in favour of the Plurals party to the NDA in all booths.
EVM HACKED IN BIHAR!— Pushpam Priya Choudhary (@pushpampc13) November 10, 2020
BJP RIGGED THE ELECTION. PLURALS VOTES TRANSFERRED TO NDA ON ALL BOOTHS.— Pushpam Priya Choudhary (@pushpampc13) November 10, 2020
The Election Commission appears to be as fed up with such conspiracy theories as the rest of us. Deputy Election Commissioner Sudeep Jain said again that the integrity of EVMs have been upheld by the Supreme Court on more than one occasions and the ECI had thrown a challenge for people to prove that EVMS could be hacked in 2017. He said that such conspiracy theories merit no further clarification.
It has been clarified time & again that EVMs are robust & tamper-proof. Supreme Court upheld integrity of EVMs more than once. EC had also offered EVM challenge in 2017. Integrity of EVMs is without any doubt & merits no further clarification: Dy Election Commissioner Sudeep Jain pic.twitter.com/EqPT1AyyJR— ANI (@ANI) November 10, 2020
While results are far from over, the NDA has a decisive lead as of the time of writing this report. While most exit polls had predicted a neck and neck fight, certain others had predicted a landslide victory for the Mahagathbandhan. All outcomes are still possible, however, opposition parties decided not to wait for the results before attempting to undermine the integrity of elections.