Skip to main content

Need of the hour: Hold Gujarat assembly elections scheduled in December 2017 with the Paper Trail method

By Gautam Thaker*
In the recent elections held in Maharashtra, accusations were made about tampering with the EVMs. In the results of the District Panchayat and Mahanagar Palika polls, it has been revealed that EVMs had been hacked. In many places, large difference has been noticed between the number of voters registered and the votes counted.
In Mumbai, it has been found that one candidate had secured '0' vote. In this context candidates of the respective parties have registered complaints before the Election Commission. Shiv Sena, NCP, MANASE, and Congress candidates have lodged complaints about fraud with the EVMs.
Besides that, it is revealed that tampering has also been done with the electoral rolls. During the polls of Mumbai Mahanagar Palika, 11 lakh voters had lost their right to vote at the last moment, as their names were missing. In one ward of Nasik town it so happened that number of votes cast were more than total No. of voters registered.
In Yeravada ward of Pune, number of voters registered was 33,289, but during counting of the votes cast, they were found to be 43324. In one area, after issuance of confirmation letter of victory under the article 194, a victory procession was taken out. Later on after one hour, it was found that counting of one EVM was still pending. In that EVM all the votes cast were found in favour of the BJP candidate and suddenly BJP candidate was declared as winner.
In Sakinaka area of Mumbai, again, one Independent sandidate Shrikant Sirsat secured '0' vote. He maintained that even when his family and neighbours had cast vote in his favour, the outcome was zero. In Nagpur, NCP has raised a clear demand for inquiring into EVM scam.
In Amaravati, all the parties got together and gave a 'Bandh' call against the misuse of EVM. It received good response, which is worth noting. In Kolhapur, one former Judge of the High Court, BG Kolase said that that as there was tampering with EVMs, hence there is necessity of paper trail machine. If it is not possible then demand for 'back to ballot' should be made.
Various similar incidents have happened in the recent elections of five states, as is learnt from the reports received from the media. As regards the EVMs, different ghosts are emerging from the Pandora’s box. Mayawati and all opposition parties have leveled accusations regarding large scale irregularities committed through EVMs in the Assembly elections in UP.
Accusations have been made even to the extent that, by tampering with the EVMs, election results have been manipulated. Opposition parties of India, and especially Mayawati and Arvind Kejriwal, are making a huge hue and cry. They do not consider EVMs as reliable. The fear of hacking has penetrated into their minds.
In the year 2009, BJP's Lal Krishna Advani and Dr Subramaniam Swami had expressed severe distrust and doubts about EVMs, and party's chief spokesman GVL Narsimha Rao even authored a book on that. Many computer experts have said that EVM is a computer programme, which can also be modified with the skills of the hackers.
Technical experts keeping vigil on the security of the EVMs also believe that it is not a big issue to hack the EVMs and this can also be proved. In 2009, BJP, accompanied with electronic experts, had in various towns throughout the country, attempted to prove before the people that EVMs can be tampered with. This movement continued till 2014.
A direction was received to implement 'Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail' (VVPAT) by successfully litigating up to the Supreme Court. Paper trail allows the voter the permission to verify as to whom he had voted for. After the voter casts his vote, a printed sheet comes out of the EVM which reveals as to in whose favor he had cast his vote.
The Supreme Court, opining that for free and fair poll VVPAT is essential, issued a directive in January 2017 to the Election Commissioner for its implementation. With the Paper Trail method transparency can be maintained in the electoral process, and at the same time credibility of the EVM machines can also be gained.
In the voting, accuracy can be maintained and in the event of controversy, by manual counting of vote, dispute can be resolved. For free and fair elections, Paper Trail is inevitable. By doing so, trust of the people i.e. voters on the EVMs, can be regained. For this, Paper Trail is a successful tool.
Now the question arises as to whether the Election Commission will implement the directive of the Paper Trail. Before the faith in electoral process is shaken, concerned citizens and organizations will have to make intensive efforts for compulsory implementation of Paper Trail.
An agitation with the demand to organize Gujarat Assembly Polls for the 2017 with the Paper Trail method, is a need of the hour.
---
*General secretary, People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Gujarat

Comments

TRENDING

'Scientifically flawed': 22 examples of the failure of vaccine passports

By Vratesh Srivastava*   Vaccine passports were introduced in late 2021 in a number of places across the world, with the primary objective of curtailing community spread and inducing "vaccine hesitant" people to get vaccinated, ostensibly to ensure herd immunity. The case for vaccine passports was scientifically flawed and ethically questionable.

US 'frustrated' with India’s discomfort: Maritime exercise in South China Sea

By Vijay Prashad*  In early April 2024, the navies of four countries -- Australia, Japan, the Philippines, and the United States -- held a maritime exercise in the South China Sea. Australia’s Warramunga, Japan’s Akebono, the Philippines’ Antonio Luna, and the United States’ Mobile worked together in these waters to strengthen their joint abilities and -- as they said in a joint statement  -- to “uphold the right to freedom of navigation and overflight and respect for maritime rights under international law.” 

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Dadi, poti discuss 'injustice' under 10 yr Modi rule: Video campaign goes viral

By Our Representative  Watan Ki Raah Mein, a civil society campaign of the Samvidhan Bachao Nagrik Abhiyan, has released a short video conversation on social media of an exchange of letters between a dadi and her poti discussing poverty, unemployment, corruption and women’s safety. The letters also raise the question of  suppression of our fundamental rights of speech, expression and justice. 

'Enough evidence': Covid vaccines impacted women's reproductive health

By Deepika*  In 2024, the news outlets have suddenly started reporting about covid vaccine side effects in a very extensive manner. Sadly, the damage is already done.

'Uncertainty in Iran': Raisi brokered crucial Chabahar Port deal with India

By Pranjal Pandey*  Ebrahim Raisi, the Iranian President, and the country’s foreign minister were tragically found deceased on May 20, 2024, shortly after their helicopter crashed in foggy conditions. In response, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei swiftly appointed a relatively unknown vice president as the interim leader.

Informal, outdoor workers 'excluded': Govt of India's excessive heat policies

Counterview Desk  Top civil rights network, National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), has demanded urgent government action to protect millions of outdoor workers from extreme heat and heatwaves, insisting declaration of heatwaves as climatic disaster.

Right to health and informed consent: Why 'revisit' Mission Indradhanush?

By Deepika*  Extending on to the subject of Misleading ads and acting responsibly , another aspect that needs highlighting is our right to health and to be made aware of quality of products, as pointed out by the Supreme Court.

Indian authorities 'evading' discussion on battery energy storage system

By Shankar Sharma*  In the larger context of the ever growing need and importance of renewable energy sources for a sustainable energy/ electricity sector in our country, the critical role of energy storage systems, especially the battery energy storage system (BESS), is being emphasised frequently at the global level, such as the one by  the International Energy Agency (IEA). Unfortunately, our authorities in India seem not to attach the same level of importance, which the BESS deserves.