ECI ‘scared’ of Modi and BJP and working under their pressure, says Digvijaya Singh

“EVMs are being used for conducting elections only in India, Australia, Nigeria, Venezuela and Brazil,” Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh claimed.

Updated - January 25, 2024 01:56 am IST

Published - January 24, 2024 04:08 pm IST - Bhopal

Digvijaya Singh. File

Digvijaya Singh. File | Photo Credit: PTI

Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and Congress Rajya Sabha MP Digvijaya Singh said on Wednesday that the Election Commission of India was “scared” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and was working “under pressure from them”. Mr. Singh also questioned the credibility of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) and the voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines

Addressing a press conference at his residence in Bhopal with a Gujarat-based technical expert Atul Patel, Mr. Singh said, “This is my open allegation against the Election Commission that you are biased and are working under pressure from the BJP and Modi ji. Take whatever action you want to against me.”

Mr. Singh also said that the ECI serves notices to Opposition leaders whenever they say something, but it is never served to Mr. Modi no matter what he says. “Because the EC is not unbiased and is scared,” he said. 

Mr. Singh is among the various Congress leaders who have long questioned the credibility of the EVMs and VVPATs. 

The Congress leader demanded that the elections be conducted through ballot paper or the VVPAT slips be handed over to the voters who themselves put them into a ballot box after verifying their votes. He said that the election results should then be declared by counting these slips only. 

At the press conference, Mr. Singh and Mr. Patel presented a “live demonstration” of how the EVMs and VVPATs record votes. 

Some journalists were asked to press the buttons of imaginary symbols Apple, Banana, and Watermelon. Out of total 10 votes cast, the duo said that five votes were polled on Apple, four on Banana and one of Watermelon.

Mr. Patel, however, claimed that the VVPAT recorded eight slips for Apple, two for Banana and one for Watermelon. He said that since the machine was “programmed” to ensure Apple’s victory, it transferred votes to it. 

Mr. Singh said that only five nations, including India, Australia, Brazil, Nigeria, and Venezuela are using EVMs for elections. 

“In Australia, the software used in these machines is available in the public domain. But here in India, the EC has not made it available in the public domain fearing that the machines can be hacked,” he said, adding that the ECI has itself said in response to an RTI petition that it does not have a technical team of its own. 

“Everything is in the hands of private persons. They can be from India or even from outside the country. And there is no information on who is providing this software. When the software can change or influence our vote, so the software and whoever makes or installs it will only decide who will form the government. The voters won’t decide it,” Mr. Singh said. 

When asked about the party’s victory in States like Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh, Mr. Singh said, “If they do manipulation everywhere then the public will understand quickly. Where they know that BJP does not exist, they will not do it there. They did not tamper with EVMs on all 230 seats in Madhya Pradesh but only on 120-130 seats. There was a swing of 10% votes, hence we lost some seats by 60-70 thousand votes.”

Several Congress leaders, including Mr. Singh, had raised questions over the EVMs after the party’s crushing defeat in the last year’s M.P. Assembly elections.

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