Even as a second Narendra Modi wave sweeps across the nation on counting day 2019, silence has broken out in the Opposition about Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) ‘tampering’, an issue that had been raised strongly after the exit polls on the last day of the seven-phase elections.
The allegations around the EVM have seen an unprecedented coming together of Opposition parties. Only on Tuesday, 21 parties convened a meeting at the capital’s Constitution Club alleging massive EVM manipulation during the electoral process.
The meeting was a closed-door affair, but Nationalist Congress party MP Majid Memon told Firstpost about the complaints against the EVM-based electoral process. “EVMs are now found everywhere. They are even available in markets. We demand that 50 percent of the VVPAT slips should be counted,” Memon said.
The meeting was convened by Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu. He tweeted just after the May 21 meeting, “Allegations of EVM tampering for manipulation of the voters’ verdict are shameful for a democracy like India. The former President of India has also opined that it is the duty of the EC to restore the confidence of Indian voters by ensuring transparency in the election process.”
Two days before the meeting, Derek O' Brien, a Member of Parliament of the Trinamool Congress Party, questioned the exit poll predictions showing NDA winning a thumping majority, “Have Delhi media who masquerade as national media lost their credentials and credibility? So-called Exit Polls will only confuse. We await the verdict of the people. Modiji had called the number 300+ even before Phase 7. Are these numbers to match that? EVM manipulation?”
Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel who was also present at the meeting re-tweeted West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who said, “I don’t trust Exit Poll gossip. The game plan is to manipulate or replace thousands of EVMs through this gossip. I appeal to all Opposition parties to be united, strong and bold. We will fight this battle together.”
Rashtriya Lok Samata Party leader Upendra Khuswaha had called the exit polls a conspiracy to “loot” votes. In a rather animated speech, he had asked his party workers to indulge in violence. “Vote ki raksha ke liye zaroorat pade toh hathiyaar bhi uthana ho toh uthaiye. Aaj jo result loot ki jo ghatna karne ki jo koshish ho rahi hai toh isko rokne ke liye hathiyaar bhi uthana ho toh uthana chahiye (If need be, take up arms to protect the vote. Pick up weapons to stop this attempt of loot of results).”
Silence reigns now.
It is significant that the parties raising the issue of EVM manipulation are the ones who are being challenged in their home turf by the BJP or its allies. The meeting at Constitution Club was exhibited as an Opposition move, delegations of parties such as YSR Congress Party and Telangana Rashtra Samiti, the party in power in Telengana, were not present.
The meeting was led by Naidu whose Telegu Desam Party was routed in Telengana by Telangana Rashtra Samiti last year in Assembly polls. Significantly, Naidu been challenged by the YSR Congress Party at his home turf Andhra Pradesh.
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Updated Date: May 23, 2019 17:21:41 IST