Is electronic 'rigging' subverting electoral mandate?
By GVL Narasimha Rao
The debate over the unreliability of the EVM that raged over the last two months is reaching a crescendo as many new facts come to light, even as Election Commission officials continue to carp ad nauseam that the EVMs used by the Election Commission are infallible, without any substantive proof, whatsoever.
As someone who has analysed and predicted many parliamentary and assembly elections in the past, let me add a new perspective to the raging EVM debate. The only two parliamentary elections where the pollsters in general have gone horribly wrong in India's parliamentary history are the Lok Sabha elections of 2009 and 2004. Consider this fact these are the only two national elections that were totally electronic.
* Polls by G.V.L. Narasimha Rao for Times of India/Doordarshan
The Election Commission is less than truthful in claiming that the EVMs deployed in general elections are tamperproof, when its own technical committee led by Prof. P.V. Indiresan held otherwise. The Expert Committee in its September, 2006 report (points 3.6 and 3.7) recommended that the old EVMs should be upgraded with suggested modifications, testing and operating precautions to make them tamper proof.
Election Commisison officials have time and again argued that the EVMs cannot be tampered as they are stand alone machines without being part of any network and are not based on operating systems as the EVMs used elsewhere in the world.
Election Commission officials now claim that the EVMs are tamper proof and this confidence stems merely from the certificates of authenticity given by their manufacturers namely the ECIL and BEL, both in the public sector. Is that a valid ground for unbridled optimism about their tamper proof reliability? Is there any way that the officers on election duty or political party representatives to verify that these EVMs are indeed not tampered with? The answer is a no.
Most political parties now suspect that something has wrong but appear woefully short in understanding the rigging possibilities of electronic voting machines. Most of them have nagging doubts about the tampering of the EVMs, but have not raised these concerns in an open manner for fear of retribution and ridicule. The Supreme Court in its order in disposing the writ petition on EVMs had stated last month that the issue raised are of vital concern and the political parties may approach the Commission to clarify their doubts about the EVMs.
- Forecast Actual
1996BJP+ 188 189
-Others 212 215
1998BJP+ 252 252
-Others 145 138
1999BJP+ 287 298
-Others 77 105