From: BR Haran
Subject: Will the Exit Polls go wrong as 2004 and 2009?
Sankrant Sanu has raised a valid point in his article titled "EVM rigging may play spoilsport with Exit poll predictions" in Niti Central. It is said many times in certain quarters that EVM tampering is a cause for concern. A section of political observers firmly believe that the EVMs have been tampered in 2004 and 2009.
Dr.Swamy is the only politician who has been consistently fighting against the use of EVMs and for the implementation of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) facility. Bringing a team of national and international technical experts he conducted a Seminar in Chennai and Delhi on the subject. This writer attended the seminar in Chennai and was convinced that the EVM could easily be tampered with. The seminar was widely reported in the media, thereby creating awareness among the public that EVMS could indeed be tampered with.
In the aftermath of the seminar Dr.Swamy and Dr.Kalyanaraman, Director, Sarasvathi Research Foundation and former Director of Asian Development Bank, authored a book titled "Electronic Voting Machines; Unconstitutional and Tamperable". The book made startling and alarming revelations on the use of EVMs, underlining the fact that the Indian EVMs could be hacked both before and after elections to alter elections results. Citing the fact that the EVMs have already been banned in many countries, including UK, Japan, Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland and Italy, the book says that the list is only getting longer. Saying that there is a growing lack of confidence in EVMs the world over, the authors ask, why should India persist with a failed system that has been abandoned worldwide?
Unfortunately, the main opposition party BJP has never been serious on this issue, though one of its National Executive Members G.V.L.Narasimha Rao joined Dr.Swamy in the fight against EVMs. Similarly, although certain other leaders like Dr.Ramadoss of PMK and Chandrababu Naidu of TDP voiced their concern, they did not pursue further on the issue.
Later when the EC challenged Dr.Swamy to prove that the EVM could be tampered with, he went to the Election Commission with two of his associates and demonstrated before them. The EC recorded the demonstration and as Dr.Swamy's team was nearing the end, the EC abruptly aborted the meeting and never re-convened the said meeting.
However, Mr.Hari Prasad, a technical expert and associate of Dr.Swamy, proved to the Media that the EVMs are indeed tamperable. As a result, Mr.Prasad was arrested on trumped up charges, on a complaint filed by the ECI that he had stolen an EVM from the ECI's stock.
As EC persisted with its falsehood that the EVM is not tamperable and that the tamperability has not been proved, Dr.Swamy took the issue to the Court of Law. The Delhi High Court pointed out that the Indian EVM is not indigenously produced, because it's crucial parts such as the EVM brain: the microcontroller is manufactured by foreign companies, thereby raising security issues. Also, the attempt by the manufacturers ECIL and BEL to obtain a WIPO Patent for EVMs failed due to their inability to meet the conditions for being awarded the patent, and their Applications filed in 2002 were withdrawn in 2006.
Later Dr.Swamy took the matter to the Supreme Court on the grounds that "Transparency is a constitutional right under Article 324" and that, "Sections 11 and 12 of the IT Act therefore require that every voter, if he or she wants, must receive an acknowledgement receipt". Subsequently in October 2013, the Supreme Court ordered the EC to implement the VVPAT system to ensure the accuracy of the Voting System and also help in manual counting of votes in case of disputes. The SC also ordered the center to provide financial assistance to EC.
However the Congress led UPA government cunningly refrained from allotting funds in the budget for the said purpose. Anticipating this, the EC had also submitted earlier in its affidavit to the SC that it would implement the VVPAT System in a phased manner. It is pertinent to note that the affidavit was submitted after the EC had successfully implemented the VVPAT system in in 21 polling stations of 51-Noksen (ST) Assembly Constituency of Nagaland when the North-eastern state went for polls in February 2013.
In spite of losing the 2004 and 2009 elections, the BJP has never been serious on this issue. Had it been serious about it and fought from the beginning along with Dr.Swamy, VVPAT system could have been implemented in the just concluded parliament elections.
With regards to the present election, the whole world in general and our country in particular are aware that the Congress led UPA government is destined to lose because of its pathetic performance in all fronts in the last ten years. It is quite a visible fact that the country would massively vote for a change this time; the NaMo Wave is also visible ever since he was nominated as the PM candidate by the BJP. In fact, the Modi Wave has started in the immediate aftermath of his winning the Gujarat Assembly Elections in 2012 and that was why the party nominated him as its PM candidate.
The fact that the Congress and other P-Sec parties are extremely uncomfortable with the idea of Modi led government is also visible. A section of political observers opine that the western countries along with the UN and the Vatican would not tolerate a Hindu Nationalist Party coming to power in India. Citing the international forces behind the "Anarchist Phenomenon" called AAP, they say that every strategy is being used to stop the Modi juggernaut.
Though they had a lot of weapons in their armoury, their main weapon was the EVM. Their objective is not a victory; their aim is to stop Modi and BJP coming to power. To achieve this aim, it is enough if the EVMs in selected constituencies are tampered with. It will be enough if a "Hung Parliament" is managed by EVM tampering in selected constituencies. Then all the p-sec parties will come together and stitch an alliance in the name of "Secularism". In such a scenario, either a Congress led alliance (say UPA-III) would be formed or a third front would form the government supported by Congress.
Meanwhile a public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed by Punjab-based advocate Yogesh Gupta in the SC, submitting that "the uniform way of declaration of result for the entire constituency as a whole would bring balanced growth and balanced funding and it would also reduce cases fuelled by political vendetta, ill will and hatred". The advocate's contention that the declaration of result by announcing the outcome of every EVM would lead to adverse impact on the voters as the political parties would harass the electorate in areas where it has not received the votes, is not acceptable, as it violates the basic principle of transparency and free and fair elections. Also the time of filing the PIL, just two days before the counting, causes suspicion. However, the SC bench comprising justices Dipak Mishra and N V Ramana issued notice to the EC and sought its reply only by 21st of May.
In this context, yesterday's meeting between Sonia and Pranab Mukherjee raises a lot of eye brows. It is reported that they "discussed" post poll scenario! Also, while the meeting was going on for hours, the Congress party dismissed the Exit Poll predictions saying a sample survey of a few lakh people cannot predict Lok Sabha election results of a country of 800 million voters. They also cite the 2004 and 2009 election results which went totally against the Exit Poll surveys. However, the party conveniently did not take into account the almost perfect exit polls in the recently concluded assembly elections.
It must be noted that the President had stuck to his claim of "neutrality" by NOT voting in this election. The nation rests its hopes on him.