On Monday, 20 May, suspicious movement of vehicles and trucks loaded with EVMs in different parts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar led to an agitation by the Opposition parties. Many videos of the same surfaced on social media. Parties alleged that EVMs were being changed in the strongrooms at the instance of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
In one video, Mahagathbandhan candidate from Ghazipur, Uttar Pradesh was seen confronting police on EVM safety.
WOAH!— SaahilMurli Menghani (@saahilmenghani) May 20, 2019
WATCH MGB candidate from Gazipur confronting POLICE on EVM safety.
He alleges that a truck full of EVMs was spotted. He is now sitting on dharna outside the counting centre. His demand is that instead of CISF, BSF must protect EVMs.
Watch this space for more. pic.twitter.com/kpYLbyPc73
But Election Commission of India dismissed the charges, and maintained that all machines are safe and secure.
“EVMS and VVPATs were sealed properly in front of the political parties’ candidates in videography. CCTV cameras are installed... at a point one representative of each candidate is present. The allegations are baseless,” EC said in a report on Tuesday.
The developments invoked political and other reactions on Twitter. Mumbai Congress President Milind Deora sent a letter to the Chief Electoral Officer of Maharashtra to ensure safety and security of EVM machines in various centres in Mumbai.
“Our Congress workers, those who are constantly looking after these centers from outside, have informed us about suspicious movements of few persons and/or few vehicles around these centers,” the letter says asking the CEO to increase vigilance and security around the counting centers.
PDP President Mehbooba Mufti said ECI hasn’t clarified any concerns of EVMs being switched. “A farcical wave backed by dubious exit polls followed by manipulating EVMs is another Balakot in the making,” she tweeted.
Worrying that despite solid evidence about EVMs being switched, @ECISVEEP hasnt clarified any of these concerns. A farcical wave backed by dubious exit polls followed by manipulating EVMs is another Balakot in the making.— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) May 21, 2019
Democracy At Stake
While journalist Sreenivasan Jain said NDTV is tracking down each instance to get to the bottom of it, AAP leader Manish Sisodia replied saying, “It's 'Facts Vs Faith' on EVM. Democracy is on stake [sic].”
Congress spokesperson Shama Mohamed put out a tweet accusing Election Commission of turning a blind eye to PM Modi’s MCC violations. “But if EC now refuses to act against the illegal movement of entire truckloads of EVMs, can any Indian have faith left in democracy anymore?” she said.
-@ECISVEEP turned a blind eye to PM #Modi's MCC violations.— Shama Mohamed (@drshamamohd) May 21, 2019
It tailored the poll schedule to suit the BJP's interests.
But if EC now refuses to act against the illegal movement of entire truckloads of EVMs, can any Indian have faith left in democracy anymore?#EVMHacking
Journalist Swati Chaturvedi said it seems “Election 2019 is being stolen.”
With Arora refusing to give any clarification on the huge quantities of EVM’s appearing everywhere but the strong box it seems Election 2019 is being stolen— Swati Chaturvedi (@bainjal) May 21, 2019
‘EC Should Clarify’
Journalist Vasudha Venugopal said one must speak on EVMs only if they are reasonably sure of the manipulation. “Spreading speculations based on conspiracies might do us more harm,” she said.
But another journalist Niha Masih replied saying EC could end the speculation with more detailed responses. “Cryptic answers that don't add up will only further conspiracy theories,” she tweeted.
Journalist Pankhuri Pathak asked why are EVM machines found in trucks and cars and random shops once they have been sealed. “Why are they being moved around in the dead of the night w/o informing the candidates,” she asked.
I am not an expert but what I know for sure is that there is no reason why EVM machines should be found in trucks & cars & random shops once they have been sealed & locked in the strongrooms .— Pankhuri Pathak پنکھڑی (@pankhuripathak) May 21, 2019
Why are they being moved around in the dead of the night w/o informing the candidates ? https://t.co/HzR0RQ7m1y
Former Chief Election Commissioner Of India Dr SY Quraishi said the factual reports from concerned Returning Officers should be simplified.
You should simplify it. State in one line what’s the finding. https://t.co/h7evx46OIY— Dr. S.Y. Quraishi (@DrSYQuraishi) May 21, 2019
Meanwhile, new videos of alleged EVM movements kept popping up on Twitter.
. Read more on Social Dangal by The Quint.RSS & BJP’s Nehru-Netaji ‘Cosplay’: Irony Dies a Thousand DeathsIf PM Modi Loses, History Will Remember him as ‘King Liar’ . Read more on Social Dangal by The Quint.