On 27 August 2018, The Congress said that over 70 per cent of political parties have put forth a demand before the Election Commission for reverting to the old voting system of the ballot paper.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said the demand has been made since there are doubts on the credibility of electronic voting machines (EVMs) and asked the EC to reintroduce ballot papers from the next election.
Is this demand justified?
The use of EVMs has been questioned by various political parties several times over the years. The first time EVMs were blamed was in 2009 when LK Advani alleged that the EVMs were not ‘foolproof’ with which several political parties agreed and highlighted the ‘vulnerability’ of these machines. Advani also suggested that the Election Commission revert to ballot papers considering the malfunctioning of EVMs.
In 2017 BMC elections Six candidates from Mumbai’s K West wards alleged the EVMs were tampered and demanded re-polling with ballot papers.
In 2017 State Assembly Elections, BSP raised the issue of EVM tampering, shocked by the huge victory of BJP and Demanded Voting with ballot papers.
In 2017 Delhi MCD elections, AAP raised the unproven manipulation of EVMs by BJP yet again.
Since then, EVM Tampering has become an excuse for the political parties to cover their defeat.
Why this demand is not justified
1) There is a huge chance of booth capturing.
2) The votes can easily be manipulated and destroyed. It doesn't take much time to burn a paper Or Pouring ink in ballot boxes
3) Cost of elections will increase as each voter will be provided with paper i.e. around 10,000 tons of ballot papers will be used. Around 2,00,000 trees will be cut. Hence not good for the environment. EVM’s saves crores of rupees.
4) Vote-counting is very slow, and the result can only be declared after 30 to 40 hours as compared to 3–4 hours for EVM machines
5) In case of ballot paper system, a fake voter can stuff thousands of fake ballot papers inside the ballot box whereas EVM is programmed to record only five votes in a minute.
All these reasons show that demanding to vote through ballot papers is a bad choice. Parties don’t want to accept their defeat. Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat, following the meeting, said that” return of ballot will bring back booth capturing”.
Election Commission of India has maintained that EVMs are tamper-proof and that VVPATs provide an additional layer to guarantee that voting is accurately captured.
When the Election Commission invited all the political parties for an open hackathon all these hackers of AAP or leaders of TMC, Congress, SP etc did not even register for the event. Except for NCP and CPI(M), no party turned up for the event and needless to say, that NCP and CPI(M) could not hack the EVM! Meanwhile, the AAP was busy inviting people for an open hackathon to hack their dummy EVM.
After the Modi wave swept the nation in 2014, opposition parties were left in a state of despair. The Modi wave refused to die down after 2014 and this was a source of a headache for the political parties. BJP won Haryana, Maharashtra, J&K, UP, Jharkhand, Assam, Tripura etc. etc. and all the opposition parties could do was to blame the EVM. But when they won in Bihar, Bengal, Punjab, Karnataka, EVM was nowhere to be blamed.
The opposition parties need to answer a few questions. And who introduced EVM machine first? It was Congress itself. If the EVM machines so bad and capable of hacking, manipulating and tampering then why did they use this machine for so long? Should we also assume that Congress was also tampering with the elections when in power?
Thus, this coming together of the opposition political parties nothing but a political gimmick to mislead the public and undermine their confidence in the EVM but little do they realize that people are not so naive to fall for their propaganda.
By: Sanat Singh