Skip to main content

Hold 2019 Lok Sabha polls with ballot paper, gap between EVM and democracy has grown wide: Congress

Manish Tiwari
By Our Representative
In a surprise move, the Congress has demanded that the 2019 Lok Sabha elections should be held with ballot paper, and not Electronic Voting Machine (EVM). Addressing a civil society-sponsored meeting in Delhi, party spokesperson Manish Tiwari said, "EVM machines are destroying the trust between the voter and the democratic system. Democracy is too precious to be left to the machines."
Tiwari added, "To ensure the democratic nature of the country, the 2019 election should be done through the ballot system”, adding, “Today it is no more the question of going back to ballot paper in elections, but it’s a must that 2019 elections be conducted through the ballot papers."
Tiwari said this even as leaders of several leaders of CPI-M, CPI, and CPI-ML, Nationalist Congress Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Aam Aadmi Party, Samajwadi Party, and Janata Dal-Secular participated in a discussion at the Constitution Club of India on analysing increasing lack of trust across India in EVMs. The meeting was organized by the National Alliance of People's Movements, Delhi Solidarity Group, Anhad, Peace and Sabka Bharat.
Supporting Tiwari, CPI-ML's Kavita Krishan said, “The electoral process should be so simple that anyone and everyone is able to vote and is also aware of the entire process of elections. The process of voting should be simplified to the bare minimum. In a democracy, every vote should be accounted for and there should be no talks of average numbers and/or rounding off of votes.”
Gauhar Raza
Ankit Lal of the Aam Aadmi Party said, "EVMs are produced by companies like ECIL and BEL. These companies are incapable of maintaining the machines on their own, therein lies the problem because they have to hire external technicians, train them and outsource the task of maintaining the machines to them."
A few political leaders insisted that the Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) system should be used properly. Nilotpal Basu of CPI-M said the need is to use the VVPAT by making it "as transparent as possible, keeping in mind the satisfaction of the voter", while Janata Dal-Secular's Danish Ali said his party will not contest the Karnataka Assembly elections later this year if "VVPAT are not counted 100%."
CPI's Amarjeet Kaur said, "Unless every single voter is confident about their vote and its destination in the counting process, democracy will have failed", adding, "To ensure the same, we have to go back to the ballot system. To make sure that the country doesn’t veer towards fascism, people have to be convinced that the electoral process is full proof and that their voices matter."
Senior civil society activists backed political leaders. Nikhil Dey of the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan said, "Political parties should have raised commotion about electoral reforms in 2014 itself", regretting, "Bo one did, and in that moment, they failed their duty to change the system for the better. That faith has to be rebuilt and enabled, the ballot system is the most appropriate."
Another social activist Gauhar Raza, a scientist by profession, who is also a leading Urdu poet and a documentary filmmaker, insisted that it is "important to continue the debate in India because if EVMs are not tamper proof, and Indian democracy is in danger, as vote becomes valueless in the process." He added, "It is the responsibility of all political parties, civil bodies and the public to carry it forward and turn it into a movement to demand the return of the ballot system."
Kavita Krishan
"The tampering of EVM machines is an attack on our right to choose and our right to vote. The EC has stated 6 technical ways which prevent it from being tampered with, but there is no machine in this world that is impenetrable. That is the driving factor in the universal rejection of EVM machines”, he points out.
Suggesting that the Election Commission is losing its credibility as it continues to deny that EVM machines can be tampered with, Dr Sunilam regretted, it made no outright moves to penalise those who manipulated the system. Among the countless number of technicians they hire locally, what is the guarantee that they are free form being politically manipulated?, they asked.
The meeting heard reports from S Srinath from Karnataka and Yogesh Malik from Gujarat, who presented detailed accounts of the tampering and also of voting fraud and their efforts to complain to the Election Commission and judiciary and seek justice. But they added, unfortunately in the name of the sanctity of the election process, they couldn’t make any headway.

Comments

TRENDING

Missed call drive for VVPAT verification follows online plea to "pressure" poll panel

By Our Representative
Several political activists have begun a new campaign, asking concerned citizens to give a missed call on 9667655855 to “support the demand that 2019 Loksabha elections must be declared only after verification of 50% electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) receipts.” The effort, supported by civil society networks across India, is meant to "further pressure" India's election machinery to ensure that the poll outcome becomes more transparent.

Now, top Gujarat "litterateur" close to Modi says: Godse was patriot, so was Gandhi

By Rajiv Shah
A little over a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticized BJP candidate from Bhopal Pragya Thakur for calling Nathuram Godse a patriot saying he would never forgive her for the remark, a top Sangh Parivar ideologue, known to close to Modi in Gujarat, has supported her, saying her statement should be seen “within a context.” Thakur won from Bhopal by more than 3.5 lakh votes defeating her nearest rival, veteran Congressman and ex-Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh.

Opposition refuses to legally challenge EVMs amidst plans of "back to ballot" protest

Counterview Desk
Even as opposition to the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) allegedly to rig polls is growing, a group of prominent citizens who have come together to form the EVM Virodhi Rashtriya Jan Andolan has controversially called for a national protest against EVMs on May 30, demanding future elections should be held only on ballot paper.

When a Pak scribe said Modi has 'proved' Jinnah’s two nation theory right...

By Zafar Agha*
It was around nine in the morning on May 24, 2019, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi stormed the Lok Sabha with 300-plus MPs. It was a call from a journalist friend, Muzamal Suhrawardy, from Lahore, Pakistan. I ignored the call. We liberals had a depressing day the previous evening as the opposition to Modi and BJP collapsed. The results belied reports from the ground and even assessments made by colleagues.

It's now official: Akshay Kumar has not been conferred honorary Canadian citizenship

By Our Representative
It is now official. Super-star Akshay Kumar has not been conferred any honorary citizenship by Canadian authorities, as claimed by him ahead of the 2019 elections. In reply to a query by Roshan Shah, who is a Canadian citizen living in Waterloo, Ontario, and belongs to Ahmedabad, the country’s authorities dealing with issues related with immigration, refugees and citizenship in Canada have said that only six persons have so far been granted honorary citizenship.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad "declared support" to two-nation theory in 1937, followed by Jinnah three years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

Govt of India overestimated GDP by 2.5%, must restore reputational damage: Ex-CEA

By Rajiv Shah
Top economist Arvind Subramanian has said that changes brought about by the Government of India in data sources and methodology for estimating the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) since 2011-12 “has led to a significant overestimation of growth”. While official estimates place annual average GDP growth between 2011-12 and 2016-17 at about 7 percent, the actual growth may have been 4½ percent, ranging from 3 ½ to 5 ½ percent during the period, he adds.

If EC's credibility is under question, shouldn't one "assume" EVMs might be tampered?

Counterview Desk
Gauhar Raza, scientist, documentary film maker and poet; senior human rights activist Shabnam Hashmi of the Act Now for Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD); military veteran Major Priyadarshi Chowdhury (retd); and Sucheta De and Sandeep Saurav of the All India Students' Association (AISA), have asked “individuals, organisations and people's movements” to send their endorsement to an appeal they have prepared on Electronic Voting Machine (EVM).

Common thread of Modi, political Hinduism, nationalism? 'Contest' of ideas isn't over

By Salman Khurshid*
Losing the 2019 election and that too in a somewhat extreme manner has confronted us with unexpected challenges: Our leadership has naturally taken it very hard and to heart but with suggested options that we cannot imagine or contemplate. Hopefully the emotions will settle soon and give us the direction to pick up the pieces and march again.

Will minorities in India be 2nd class citizens? Wake up call: Be a 'communicating' Church

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
India today is at a defining moment of her history. There is so much that has taken place in the past five years (and particularly in the last ten days)- that several citizens of the country are genuinely concerned about the future of the country! Will democracy survive? Will key elements of the Constitution be changed?