ECI should respond

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 2/1/2019 12:33:31 PM IST

 As India goes to the polls from April to May 2019 to elect the next 17th Lok Sabha, the issue of alleged possible tampering of Electronic Voting Machines(EVMs) has been revived by various political parties and which grew loudest after the planned “demonstration” by a so-called US expert but which turned out to be a dubious affair with the person hurling nonsense via video conferencing. The so-called Us-based expert one Syed Shuja failed to turn up at the London event on January 21, with the excuse that he was hurt by unknown people and instead conducted the so-called “demonstration” by issuing highly serious and baseless allegations via skype. The so-called expert hacker Shuja had even claimed that he had worked for Electronics Corporation of India Limited(ECIL), a firm that manufactures the EVMs. However, ECIL has strongly rejected and dismissed the claim saying that as per its record, there is no person by the name of Syed Shuja figuring in its register of employees. The fake expert only raised the decibel against EVM with critics making strong demands for reverting back to paper ballot. EVMs are manufactured by two highly reputable public sector undertakings, exclusively for the Election Commission of India Limited((ECIL). These are standalone machines, meaning unlike EVMs in other countries that are networked by wire or wireless. The ECI has rejected the demand and stood by the EVMs and also pointed out that so far, there has been no conclusive proof about tampering even in live demonstrations. Nevertheless, there are always someone who would rake up the controversy regarding of EVM rigging. It was Mayawati in Uttar Pradesh, Arvind Kejriwal in Punjab, Lalu Prasad in Bihar and the Congress ,which sought an investigation into “large-scale EVM fraud” during the 2017 assembly elections. Five years ago, BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao made a case against EVMs in a book, ‘Democracy At Risk! Can We Trust Our Electronic Voting Machines?’, which even came with a foreword by LK Advani. Perhaps there is also a need to look into the system of selection/appointment of Election Commissioners to prevent those officials having political inclination from being deputed to ECI. The issue over EVMs needs a proper handling between the ECI and various political parties in order to set the issue at rest. There’s no doubt that conducting elections in India is a mammoth, constantly evolving process. While there’s no denying that any system is flawed and can be exploited, the question is – are the loopholes big enough to impact election outcomes? So far, unlike in the past where ballot papers in sacks were either lost in transit or exchanged, it is difficult to do the same with EVMs. The only need to ensure cent per cent trust is to make officials more accountable for any dereliction of duty during polling hours. Also complaints against EVMs need to be looked without delay in order to preserve the sanctity of the elections and the reliability of the EVMs. Blaming others(EVMs) for one’s defeat is that of a bad loser. However, if there are genuine concerns and backed with credible evidence, then the ECI must take up the challenge. The ECI should be bold enough even to take on the government of the day in order to ensure transparency. That way it will enhance the credibility of the system and earn the respect of all.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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