Aside from the commonsense logic, the EVM bashing has been going on for long. Rahul Gandhi's backers say that he did point that he had reservations with the EVMs even when the Congress won in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan December last
The way the opposition parties are going against the Election Commission (EC) and the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), it would suggest that they take the exit polls results more seriously than the NDA led by the BJP.
The fact that the exit polls have nothing to do with the EC and EVMs should actually allay the misgivings of the sceptics.
Aside from the commonsense logic, the EVM bashing has been going on for long. Rahul Gandhi's backers say that he did point that he had reservations with the EVMs even when the Congress won in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan December last.
Well, this is a bit disingenuous. If he had issues with the EVMs, how did the results that the very same EVMs threw up became acceptable to Rahul and his party. Surely, he can't have it both the ways.
Also, the allegations are a little muddled. At one level, the charge is the EVMs have been hacked through a pre-set programme that allows votes to be cast to only one candidate (the vote goes only to the BJP in this case). At another, there is also the allegation that the EVMs used in the polls are being replaced with pre-loaded new ones.
Well, again the EC has clearly clarified that the existing EVMs are under watch round the clock and all candidates can have their own people to stand vigil (and they do in many places). The EVMs also carry specific numbers that the candidates can cross-verify.
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So the sudden sprouting of unverified video clips about EVMs on social media platforms at best seems a desperate agenda of the rattled opposition parties.
Yet, the question remains: can the EVMs be tampered with? The fact of the matter is, no electronic equipment these days is safe in a fundamental sense. EVMs can indeed be hacked.
But wait. That is not the whole answer, as there are checks and balances in place to spot hacking if any. And, in any case, the large-scale tampering needed to manipulate the results of the massive elections is practically impossible to pull off.
Readers may recall the feckless hackathon that was tried at the behest of the Congress at London last January. Though officially the Congress distanced itself from the meet, its senior leader Kapil Sibal was there when the hackathon turned out to be a silly, stupid jamboree.
Rather than take up the glitches and issues with regard to Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT), the Congress went for the improbable wholesale hacking and, in the event, cut a very sorry figure.
Losers always need excuses. And EVMs tend to come in handy these days to explain away defeats at the hustings. As it happened, in 2004 and 2009 it was the BJP (and the NDA) that cried itself hoarse about the EVMs being manipulated. It was particularly shrill after the 2009 defeat.
Even ahead of the 2014 polls, the political section that the BJP comes from was not convinced of the EVMs. But post the 2014 poll verdict, the boot was quickly on the other foot. The BJP was the one defending the efficacy of the EVMs, while the Congress and others became strident sceptics.
And the charade, unfortunately, continues till today.
Rather than keep bleating about the EVMs, the political parties would do well to focus their energies on asking for systemic changes in the way the poll panel conducts the elections. There are many problematic areas there that need urgent attention. Going after the EVMs seems a proverbial case of missing the wood for the trees.
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Last Updated 22, May 2019, 3:54 PM