The Election Commission on Tuesday allayed apprehensions on EVM security and described the charges of tampering as ‘baseless’. The Supreme Court too tersely dismissed a petition seeking directions to the Election Commission to ensure that VVPAT (Voter Verifiable Paper Trail) slips are matched with EVM counts.
Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora had said after the Rajasthan assembly election, " If three or four incidents mar the smooth election in 1.74 lakh polling stations, I leave you to judge the gravity of the inherent malafide in the electoral process."
But after assembly elections in Uttarakhand in 2017, Uttarakhand High Court had seized EVM machines on the complaint filed by several Congress candidates. Serial numbers of some EVMs used and counted did not tally then. But according to sources, Election Commission’s reply to the High Court is pending even after two years. No attempt has been made apparently by the Election Commission to verify the seized machines during this period.
That explains why the EC is not trusted and why the Commission is facing such a crisis of credibility.
There is also no answer to why VVPAT units, ordered as mandatory by the Supreme Court itself, should serve just a cosmetic purpose. They were purchased at enormous public cost, three to four thousand Crore Rupees by one estimate, and the expenditure will be useless if the slips are not matched.
As a Twitter user quipped during the day: “The biggest joke in Indian democracy as of now is VVPAT. If the slips are not to be counted and matched with EVM Results, why did the Election Commission of India wasted ₹ 19,650 crore (tax payers’ money) to buy 16.15 lakh VVPAT machines? Just to showcase on the side of EVMs?”
With outrage on social media mounting on disturbing number of videos of unescorted vehicles transporting EVM machines with no security arriving at Strong Rooms and Counting Centres, the Election Commission came out with a statement rejecting the charges as ‘baseless’.
The videos disturbed former Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi sufficiently for him to tweet the provisions prescribed by the Election Commission:
The Returning Officer of Ghazipur also sought to allay suspicion and claimed that the vehicles were delayed due to various reasons.
But that did not answer the questions.
Watch the following videos being circulated on social media to make up your own mind: