‘EC’s Cryptic Answer Won’t Do’: Twitter On EVM ‘Movement’
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.
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.
Former President Pranab Mukherjee also tweeted his statement. “The onus of ensuring institutional integrity in this case lies with the Election Commission Of India. They must do so and put all speculations to rest,” the statement read.
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.
Journalist Swati Chaturvedi said it seems “Election 2019 is being stolen.”
‘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.
Former Chief Election Commissioner of India, SY Quraishi said the factual reports from concerned Returning Officers should be simplified.
Speaking to News18, the former CEC also suggested that the poll panel should be prompt with dispelling rumours so that its credibility is not questioned.
Meanwhile, new videos of alleged EVM movements kept popping up on Twitter.