Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday joined Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati in casting doubts over the working of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) after his party received a drubbing in Punjab polls.
Ms. Mayawati went a step further and announced in Lucknow that her party would be taking the Election Commission of India (ECI) to court over alleged tampering of EVMs and observe a “black day” every month over what she termed the “murder of democracy.”
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), headed by Mr Kejriwal won 20 seats in the 117-member Assembly with a vote share of 24.9%. Mr. Kejriwal claimed that around 20 to 25% of its votes may have been transferred to the SAD-BJP coalition as the EVMs were tampered with.
“The poll result is beyond understanding and raises a big question mark on the reliability of EVMs as political analysts across the spectrum had predicted a landslide win for AAP,” he said. Significantly, Mr. Kejriwal refrained from mentioning Goa, where his party drew a blank.
Mr. Kejriwal claimed that in some of the booths in Punjab, the number of votes AAP got was even less than its volunteers deployed there, adding that it has raised suspicion of foul play.
“If there is any mismatch between the votes polled for parties and the Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) then there is a need to look at another option to conduct polls. Such a move is necessary to maintain the credibility of the EVMs and people’s trust on electoral processes. You cannot brush it under the carpet. There will be no democracy if people lose trust in elections,” Mr. Kejriwal said.
On Tuesday, he had written to the Delhi chief secretary directing him to approach the state election commission with the request to hold the upcoming municipal polls in Delhi using ballot papers.
Asked what explains AAP’s stunning victory in 2015 polls in Delhi, Mr. Kejriwal said that it may have got to do with BJP’s ‘over-confidence’ that it would clinch a victory. “So they may not have indulged in tampering. The same would explain the victory of JD(U)-RJD in Bihar. Even then BJP was very sure of winning the state,” he said
Ms. Mayawati in Lucknow said that her party would be hitting the streets in Uttar Pradesh to protest against EVMs and their alleged tampering. She too had an explanation for why she wasn’t mentioning the results in states like Goa and Manipur or even Punjab in her (where BJP didn’t fare well).
“Had they done the same in other States they would not have been able to give a proper reply to questions raised by people and would have been caught easily,” she said, adding they did not indulge in tampering in smaller States as they had to keep something for their defence. “They got this victory through tampering of EVMs and this win smacks of dishonesty, fraud and murder of democracy,” she alleged.