Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah hit back on Wednesday at opposition parties that have raised doubts over the reliability of electronic voting machines (EVMs), which they have alleged are susceptible to tampering, noting that they had won power in states using the same system they say they have so little faith in now.
With hours to go before the start of vote counting in the Lok Sabha elections on Thursday, Shah took to twitter to pose six questions to political rivals. Doubts being expressed about EVMs amounts to slighting the mandate of the people, he said, adding that opposition parties were also tarnishing the country’s image globally by raising questions on the country’s democratic processes.
These parties were acting out of their fear of defeat, Shah claimed, noting that parties including the Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party, Samajwadi Party, Trinamool Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Aam Aadmi Party, Telugu Desam Party, the Left and Rashtriya Janata Dal had all at “sometime or the other won elections conducted through EVMs. When the AAP won 67 of the 70 Delhi Assembly seats or the Congress formed governments in four states after recent elections, we did not raise any questions,” Shah said. He asked whether it should be understood that whenever an opposition party wins an election it is a victory and whenever it loses, the EVMs are at fault. “If these parties did not believe in EVMs then why did they wield the reins of power after winning polls?” he asked.
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In his second question, Shah said the Supreme Court had, after taking into consideration public interest litigations, given the final touches to the electoral process. It has ordered the counting of five random VVPATs (voter verified paper audit trails) in each assembly segment. “So, now, are you even putting a question mark on the Supreme Court itself,” went Shah’s second poser.
In his third question Shah said that the demand by 22 parties for a change in the process, just two days before counting, was unconstitutional because such a step was not possible without everyone coming on board. He claimed that the opposition had raked up the issue after the sixth phase of polling and that this gained intensity after the exit poll findings were published on Sunday.
The Election Commission had thrown an open challenge to anyone to demonstrate that EVMs can be manipulated, Shah said, noting that opposition parties had not accepted the challenge. The EC then attached VVPAT machines to EVMs so that a voter could see to which party and candidate the vote he cast went, the BJP chief said.