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Mainstream, VOL LVII No 25 New Delhi June 8, 2019

Scale of NDA Victory: Doubts turn to Disbelief

Sunday 9 June 2019, by SC

EDITORIAL

Two weeks have passed since the results of the 17th Lok Sabha polls were announced on May 23, 2019. However, even now the scale of the NDA’s, and in effect the Modi-Shah-led BJP’s, victory is still being debated in various fora and the sense of disbelief at the magnitude of the ruling party’s and/or coalition’s success has yet to be dispelled.

Let us delve into the issue of the reasons behind the astounding BJP victory. Several people have ascribed the BJP’s success to the manipulation of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). Some, who had prior knowledge of what happened in the Gujarat Assembly elections in the past, were of the strong opinion that if the EVMs were not replaced by paper ballots there was no point in participating in such sham elections.

One had suspected the manipulation of the EVMs during the UP Assembly elections in 2017 and one had voiced one’s apprehensions on that count. But this time those suspicions have grown substantially especially after the Election Commission point blank declined to explain how there was considerable difference between the votes polls and EVM votes counted in several constituencies. The Quint published a report where serious discrepancies were found in 373 constituencies which went to the polls in the first four phases of the election. For example, in Kanchee-puram Lok Sabha seat in Tamil Nadu, the EC data said 12,14,086 EVM votes were polled whereas 12,32,417 EVM votes were counted—a surplus of 18,331 EVM votes. Why? The EC is silent on that. Similarly in Dharmapuri Lok Sabha seat in Tamil Nadu, the EC data said 11,94,440 EVM votes were polled and 12,12,311 EVM votes were counted—a surplus of 17,871 EVM votes. Why? The EC is silent. One has found more such discrepancies in other constituencies as well. And several former Election Commissioners have expressed dismay on this score.

There have been demonstrations in several cities like Mumbai, Ahmedabad, New Delhi against such discrepancies. Justice B.G. Kolse Patil has openly called for a countrywide mass movement against this form of EVM manipulation and declared the need to throw out the “EVM Government” now in power in the Capital.

This being the case what are we to infer? Obviously the votes were “managed”, that is, “stolen”. Hence even if one grudgingly accepts the BJP victory in many constituencies, the scale of victory is definitely in doubt. Therefore, we cannot spontaneously accept what is now known as the “EVM sarkar” unless the doubts are conclusively removed. That indeed is a stupendous, if not an impossible, task. In the mean- time the credibility of the Modi Government hangs in balance.

June 6 S.C.

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