By Siddhant Mohan, Twocircles.net
Bhopal: In the aftermath of the five state elections completed recently and the BJP’s landslide victory in Uttar Pradesh, Bahujan Samaj Party’s chief Mayawati had alleged that the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) had been rigged. The statement did not go down well with the media and even though some parties supported her statement, the image of the EVM remained largely untarnished.
But a recent controversy in Madhya Pradesh has reignited the controversy that EVMs can be rigged. On Friday, Chief electoral officer(CEO) Saleena Singh was observing demonstration of EVM at Bhind district in Madhya Pradesh, for by-elections of two seats. But when Singh pressed button no. 4 on EVM , the VVPAT (Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail) machine showed the vote confirmation to button no. 2 which was designated to BJP. The same happened during Singh’s second attempt.
VVPAT is a device attached to all EVMs which shows the voter the confirmation of his selection over EVM buttons. Beside voter’s satisfaction, VVPAT is also supposed to serve the purpose of re-counting of votes in case of any confusion.
Journalists were called to watch and report the demonstration event. When the EVM failed the transparency test, CEO Saleena Singh told journalists to not to run the news. She was talking apparently in a friendly tone, but said, “Ye sab press men nahin jana chahiye, warna aap logon ko thane men bithakar rakha jayega (this should not go in Press, otherwise you all will have to sit in Police station).
Nevertheless, a video of this event was shot and has been circulated widely. The same can be seen below.
The Congress Party expressed outrage at this event and is also advocating the use of ballot papers in for the upcoming polls to be held at Bhind and Bandhavgarh assembly constituencies.
When asked for comments on this matter, Joint Chief Electoral Officer SS Bansal said these accusations are false. He said, “BJP was assigned the number 4, therefore it showed number 4. Some journalists are confusing it.” When asked about what Saleena Singh said, SS Bansal denied of any such statement from CEO, Madhya Pradesh.
On Saturday evening, CEO Saleena Singh will hold a press conference, where she is expected to provide brief for next week’s by-elections.