Jagan doubts genuineness of EVMs, NDA partners call it ‘drama’ after poll debacle of YSRCP in Andhra Pradesh

The former Chief Minister advocates for paper ballot system; the YSRCP president did not utter a word about EVMs when he won poll in 2019, point out NDA leaders

Published - June 18, 2024 07:21 pm IST - VIJAYAWADA

In electoral practices in almost every advanced democracy, paper ballots are used, not EVMs, says YSRCP president Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy.

In electoral practices in almost every advanced democracy, paper ballots are used, not EVMs, says YSRCP president Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy. | Photo Credit: File Photo

Expressing doubt on the genuineness of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) president Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy has advocated for the paper ballot system. However, the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) partners criticised the statements of the former Chief Minister.

The remark of Mr. Jagan Mohan Reddy came a fortnight after the YSRCP was routed in the simultaneous elections held to Lok Sabha and Assembly seats in Andhra Pradesh.

“In electoral practices across the world in almost every advanced democracy, paper ballots are used, not EVMs. We too must move towards the same in upholding the true spirit of our democracy,” the former Chief Minister posted on social media platform X on June 18 (Tuesday).  

“Just as justice should not only be served, but should also appear to have been served, so should democracy not only prevail but must appear to be prevalent undoubtedly,” he said.

This is his first comment on the election outcome vis-a-vis EVMs. After the poll results were declared on June 4, he wondered what went wrong when his government had implemented 99% of promises made in the party’s manifesto. He described the poll results as unexpected and surprising. “I don’t know what happened. God knows. We will honour the people’s verdict.” he said, rather in an emotionally choked voice on June 4.

With his June 18 remarks, Mr. Jagan Mohan Reddy joined the bandwagon of political leaders including Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. “EVMs in India are a black box and nobody is allowed to scrutinise them. Serious concerns are being raised about transparency in our electoral process,” said the Congress leader in his response to Elon Musk’s post on X.

Mr. Jagan Mohan Reddy’s remarks kicked up a political storm in Andhra Pradesh as the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) partners reacted strongly. 

Telugu Desam Party (TDP) MLA Somireddi Chandramohan Reddy ridiculed the former Chief Minister’s comment.  “The former Chief Minister was yet to come out of the shock (poll defeat). He should desist from self-praise for success and blame others for his failures. He did not utter a word about EVMs when he won the elections in 2019. He is blaming the EVMs after his poll debacle now. He should introspect for his failure instead of parroting Elon Musk,” said Mr. Chandramohan Reddy. 

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Sadineni Yamini Sarma said that the EVMs were used in the 2019 elections too. “It appears that they (YSRCP) were clueless after the poll debacle. They attributed their victory in 2019 to their flagship programme Navaratnalu. They are blaming EVMs for their poll defeat. Unable to win the hearts of the people, the Congress and its offshoot YSRCP are enacting dramas. The people, however, are not in a mood to listen to their stories,” she said.

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