As EVM Hacking starts trending on Twitter, many are left wondering whether it's a hoax that is being called out or if it is a more sinister last-ditch effort by the opposition that comes at the cost of ruining people's faith in institutions?
New Delhi: Twenty-four hours before twenty-one parties march to the election commission to raise the EVM bogey, a narrative was sought to be created that EVMs were not only hacked but also illegally transported to favour a political party.
A purported video where EVMs were seen to be transported without escort, another video of a candidate sitting on a dharna, another one where EVMs were seen to be unloaded from a tempo and being stored in a warehouse - all from different parts suddenly swept the internet in an apparent unison to insinuate that the election wasn't free and fair. What's more, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal retweeted many such videos without verifying its authenticity. Tuesday morning, the election commission rubbished each allegation brick by brick.
Also read: Uttar Pradesh police arrest man for spreading fake news about EVM tampering
A video from Chandauli emerged where EVM machines were being unloaded from a tempo and being kept in a room. The person who was recording it claims that to be Room No 10. Upon his enquiry, the people who unloaded said it was being brought from Sakaldiha, and those EVMs were faulty. It was circulated as EVMs were being 'replaced'.
Without any comment, an EVM video from Chandauli, UP.— Ravi Nair (@t_d_h_nair) May 20, 2019
EC calls it a 'frivolous allegation’. It says, "EVMs were under proper security protocol".
1/n Pl note the followg factual reports from concerned Returning Officers in context of varied clips being circulated on media platforms on EVM strong room issues. Clarification issued by RO👇wrt mishandling of EVMs in Chandauli, UP. All extant guidelines issued by ECI followed. pic.twitter.com/wNOS3WmtvL— Sheyphali Sharan (@SpokespersonECI) May 21, 2019
The second allegation came in from Ghazipur where a Mahagathbandhan candidate is seen confronting an on-duty police official. Afzal Ansari of the BSP started a dharna in front of Jangipur Mandi regarding the security of the strong room. Though no evidence to this effect emerged, many political activists jumped the gun. So much so, even many journalists fell for it, raising a question on the security of the strong room.
Truck full of EVM machines at ghazipur. BJP trying to change EVM machines @ECISVEEP @thewire_in @ndtv @ravishndtv @abhisar_sharma @RahulGandhi @ahmedpatel @yadavakhilesh @Mayawati pic.twitter.com/kAsM7aAopK— Shabnam Hashmi (@ShabnamHashmi) May 20, 2019
It says, " There was an issue regarding "Having a watch on polled EVM strong room by the candidates" which was resolved by conveying the ECI instructions." Even a letter written to the Election Commissioner, the District Magistrate says, that Ansari himself has been 'satisfied' with the security provisions.
Statement issued by RO Ghazipur, Uttar Pradesh@PIB_India @DDNewsLive @ceoup @airnewsalerts @ECISVEEP pic.twitter.com/vQI5jRsY7C— Sheyphali Sharan (@SpokespersonECI) May 21, 2019
Another charge came from Jhansi that EVMs were shifted without informing the candidates. The video also shows an SUV car which was draped with cloth in the back and suggesting a clandestine ill motived move to favour someone. The person who has been making the video has been heard asking, "Apne pratyashi ko suchna di hai?" (Have you informed the candidate?)
Another EVM video from UP (from Jhansi)— Ravi Nair (@t_d_h_nair) May 21, 2019
Officials claim these are reserve machines. But they have no answer why the movement of EVM was not informed to candidates.
And why reserve EVMs are transported in private vehicles a day after election?
The Election Commission categorically made it clear it was reserved EVMs and not the ones which have been polled. In a statement the Jhansi returning officer said, "We have kept the unused EVMs separately to avoid confusion. You (media) have seen that we have shown the candidates who had any objection to such storage (of unused EVMs) that these are indeed unused EVMs. We have also shown them the VVPAT box."
3/n DEO Jhansi while responding to queries on mishandling of EVMs stated that strong rooms were sealed in morning by 7-7:30 am inpresence of Observers once all polling parties came back with EVMs. All extant ECI guidelines followed@PIB_India @DDNewsLive @airnewsalerts @ECISVEEP pic.twitter.com/v72gdQdbhz— Sheyphali Sharan (@SpokespersonECI) May 21, 2019
There were similar agitations in Domariaganj of Uttar Pradesh following speculation of EVM tampering. There have been elements who are being zeroed in by the authorities who have floated such rumours on social media that prompted the agitation. One such element has been arrested by police from Azamgarh as reported by MyNation.
The poll body refutes the allegations as 'baseless' stating, "EVMs were under proper security and protocol. Agitation was unnecessary. DM and SP convinced them. The matter is resolved." In a 2-page-letter by the district election commissioner to the Cheif Election commissioner of Uttar Pradesh, the matter has been explained in graphic details.
On May 21, twenty-one political parties were slated to meet in Delhi to discuss the future course of action if BJP-led NDA falls short of majority mark which is 272 seats in the Lok Sabha. But on May 19, most of the exit polls suggested an NDA sweep. So, is there a connection between the two? UP Minister Siddharth Nath Singh believes so. However, the opposition isn't convinced. Congress spokesperson Shama Mohamed accused the poll body to have turned a 'blind eye', even after such categorical rebuttal.
Even the former President, Pranab Mukherjee, rubbished opposition's allegations saying, "There can be no room for speculations that challenge the very basis of our democracy." The former President also added that the institutions in the country have been built over time and are good. A good workman, he said, knows how to work well with the tools.
Please read my statement below.#CitizenMukherjee pic.twitter.com/UFXkbv06Ol— Pranab Mukherjee (@CitiznMukherjee) May 21, 2019
As EVM Hacking starts trending on Twitter, many are left to wonder whether it's a hoax that is being called out or more sinister last-ditch effort by the opposition that comes at the cost of ruining people's faith in institutions?
Also read: Despite opposition’s tampering claims, Pranab Mukherjee calls election ‘perfect’
MyNation will be tracking each such EVM hoaxes and will be exposing them.
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Last Updated May 22, 2019, 3:55 PM IST