Arvind Kejriwal's EVM tampering excuse won't wash with voters: Delhi CM's charge is a hollow justification

"Kuchh to gadbad hai papa," the kid at home would say in mock seriousness explaining his low score in maths in a class test. "I swear I got all the answers right. The teacher has her favourites. They always get more marks."

"Really?" One answers, wishing the kid would stop watching the television serial he had borrowed the gadbad line from. "You are absolutely right, beta. But in the last test you had good marks. I never heard a word against the teacher from you. Were you her favourite then?" The boy makes a face and goes silent.

Arvind Kejriwal’s gadbad charge against electronic voting machines reminds one of the kid’s lame excuses. How come he didn’t find anything wrong with the machines when he won 67 of 70 seats in the Delhi assembly? In the times of massive mandate one way or the other, how come he never found anything amiss earlier?

Speaking to the media on Wednesday, the Delhi chief minister suggested that the voting machines were doctored in Punjab. It resulted in a chunk of AAP votes getting transferred to the Akali Dal-BJP combine. How come AAP secured less votes than its number of volunteers in some seats? He asked. He also raised questions over the Congress’s massive victory while all poll surveys predicted a hung house.

The question that begs an answer here is did the Congress manipulate the EVMs too? If Kejriwal believes it is true then it is rather surprising that the party didn’t rig the machines in Uttar Pradesh too. Certainly a lot was at stake for it in the state.

And why didn’t the BJP win a clear majority in Manipur and Goa if it could tinker with voting machines?

He may have a point in arguing that the voting machines are not tamper proof and some western countries have abandoned experimenting with it after glitches surfaced but that does not explain why the BJP’s performance varied across states. It appears he took opinion polls and expert opinions too seriously. Even a pedestrian study of election results would tell one that both come wrong often. For example, not a single exit poll predicted the massive BJP victory in 2014 or the party’s debacle in Delhi and Bihar and now its stupendous performance in Uttar Pradesh.

Now, Kejriwal wants the Election Commission to go back to good old paper ballots for the MCD elections in the National Capital. It’s obvious if he loses he would lay the blame on voting machines. If only he had focused on governance over the last two years and been less of an absentee chief minister! Excuses wouldn’t be necessary then. Of course, the commission has refused to oblige him.

Is he a worried man after his party’s performance in Punjab and Goa? Apparently yes. His national ambition has come to a rude halt and if loses Delhi, he is as good as finished as a politician. The election to the 272 seats in the MCD election will be his big test. If he wins a respectable number of seats it would mean he has retained his popular appeal and his party has planted its feet firmly in Delhi. If he loses then it could be the beginning of the end of his foray into politics. His government will be in power for the next three years but with its legitimacy suspect.

It’s better Kejriwal focused on governance and not spend time cooking up excuses. When he does that he sounds like the kid at home. He cannot keep saying ‘kuchh to gadbad hai’ when he himself could be at fault.

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Updated Date: Mar 15, 2017 17:21:29 IST

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