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Who will blame the EVM Today?

Don't be surprised if losing candidates blame the EVMs for their loss after the Lok Sabha results are announced. It is clear that they cannot accept defeat under any circumstances

Who will blame the EVM Today?
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The truth is that no one can manipulate EVMs because they are not connected to the internet. They are stand-alone, hard-wired devices. This makes online hacking impossible. Those who claim that elections conducted through EVMs are rigged should remember that the process of assigning EVMs to polling booths is intricate

The festival of Indian democracy, which has been ongoing for nearly two and a half months, concludes today (Tuesday) with the announcement of the Lok Sabha election results. The Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar announced the Lok Sabha election schedule on March 16th. The voting process took place in seven phases, stretching from April 19th to June 1st. Now, the time has come for the counting of votes. It is hoped that the results will be accepted without any questioning.

Naturally, the Lok Sabha election results will reveal the accuracy of exit poll predictions and other forecasts. However, is there any guarantee that defeated parties and candidates will not blame the EVMs for their loss? Congress leader Jairam Ramesh has made serious accusations against Union Home Minister Amit Shah. He claimed that Shah had contacted 150 district magistrates and collectors via phone. The Election Commission, taking the accusation seriously, has asked Ramesh for evidence. Jairam Ramesh claimed on the social media platform X (formerly Twitter) that "The outgoing Home Minister is calling District Magistrates/Collectors. He has spoken to 150 of them so far. This is blatant and shameless intimidation, and shows how desperate BJP is." Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi has also stated that if the elections are conducted honestly, the BJP will not win more than 180 seats.

In recent times, a section of the population in India has emerged that is chronically dissatisfied. They remain in a blame game mode all the time. Don't be surprised if losing candidates blame the EVMs for their loss after the Lok Sabha results are announced. It is clear that they cannot accept defeat under any circumstances. In their frustration, they shamelessly point to the EVMs as the reason for their loss. These pessimistic and frustrated elements remain silent when they win. Overall, the accusations regarding EVM manipulation have been unfounded and baseless.

Those who question the credibility of EVMs shamelessly demand that elections be conducted using ballot papers. Advocates of ballot papers forget the chaos during elections in the era of ballot papers. There was widespread voter fraud.

The truth is that no one can manipulate EVMs because they are not connected to the internet. They are stand-alone, hard-wired devices. This makes online hacking impossible. Those who claim that elections conducted through EVMs are rigged should remember that the process of assigning EVMs to polling booths is intricate. First, the Lok Sabha constituency is determined, followed by the assembly constituency, and finally, the polling booth. This is a lengthy process. Furthermore, the polling officers are informed about the specific EVMs assigned to them only a day before the election. The EVM consists of two machines: one for ballot and one for control. A third unit, the VVPAT, displays a slip to the voter, providing confirmation that their vote has been cast correctly. Before the start of the voting process, polling officers conduct a mock poll in front of election officials representing all contesting parties. Following this process, the candidates' polling agents provide the polling booth's chief officer with a certificate confirming the correct mock poll. Even after such rigorous scrutiny of EVMs, it's impossible to appease those who refuse to trust them.

Meanwhile, predicting accurate exit polls in a complex and diverse country like India is not easy. However, the 2024 Lok Sabha election will be remembered for the lack of meaningful discussion on fundamental issues like corruption, health, and education. Political analysts, journalists, and political activists started announcing potential election outcomes at least 15 days before the results. The predictions made by election strategist Prashant Kishor have been highly controversial. He claimed that the Congress would not win 100 seats in the Lok Sabha elections. He claimed that the BJP would either retain or exceed its seat count from the 2019 general elections. Those who dismissed Kishor's claims have fallen silent after the release of exit polls. Most exit polls have projected the BJP to cross the 350-seat mark. However, from Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, various leaders are calling the exit polls fake. The truth will be revealed after the vote count today.

Meanwhile, renowned astrologer, columnist, and author Pandit J.P. Trikha has made his prediction after extensive research on the Lok Sabha election results. Pandit Trikha says, "My astrological studies clearly indicate that the BJP, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will be the party with the most seats in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections." According to Pandit Trikha, "Narendra Modi's moon sign is Scorpio. He was born on September 17, 1950. He is ruled by Mars. Scorpios are very intelligent and shrewd, and they possess leadership qualities. They are born leaders. Modi Ji has proved this repeatedly."

Before conducting exit polls, agencies deploy their personnel outside polling booths. These personnel question voters after they cast their ballots about who they voted for. The data collected is then analyzed in depth. Long-time observers of Lok Sabha and Assembly elections claim that every election is unique. The issues at stake in two different elections are different.

Amidst the scorching heat that engulfed a large part of the country, millions of voters exercised their franchise, ensuring the success of the democratic festival. However, the intense heat led to the death of a significant number of government employees. The Election Commission needs to consider holding future Lok Sabha elections in more conducive weather conditions. It must also be acknowledged that the level of accusations and counter-accusations during the election campaign descended to the gutter level. While debate, argument, dissent, dialogue, and discussion are crucial in a democracy, unfortunately, critical issues were overlooked during the election campaign.

(The author is Delhi-based senior journalist and writer. He is author of Gandhi's Delhi which has brought to the forth many hidden facts about Mahatma Gandhi)

Vivek Shukla
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