EVM Hatao-Desh Bachao-Ballot Paper Lao: Civil Society Activists to Launch Nationwide Campaign on August 9

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Activists and conveners of EVM Virodhi Rashtriya Jan Andolan at the press conference organised to launch ‘EVM Hatao-Desh Bachao-Ballot Paper Lao’ campaign in New Delhi. — Photos: Caravan Daily

‘Abolish EVM-Save Nation-Bring in Ballot Paper’ campaign on August 9, marks the anniversary of Quit India Movement.

Abdul Bari Masoud | Caravan Daily

NEW DELHI — Civil society groups and prominent activists on Wednesday urged the public to join the nation-wide ‘EVM Hatao-Desh Bachao-Ballot Paper Lao’ (Abolish EVM-Save Nation-Bring in Ballot Paper) campaign on August 9, marking the anniversary of Quit India Movement which Mahatma Gandhi launched on same day.

Calling the incumbent BJP Government at the Centre “EVM Sarkar”, they said the electronic voting machines have posed grave threat to democracy in India as is evident from the results of the recently concluded national elections.

Addressing the media here on the eve of the protest launch, the activists highlighted the EVM’s vulnerability to manipulations. They said the machines compromise the free and fair election. In this connection, they said, a national consultation was held in Delhi on July 14 before giving a call for nationwide protests against EVMs.

Why the BJP is shying away from paper ballot election while 23 other political parties of India are demanding it, they asked.

N Sai Balaji, president JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU), said in the last Lok Sabha elections, several shocking facts about the discrepancies in the EVMs have come into the public domain.

“Why has there been a mismatch of nearly 56 lakh plus votes polled and votes counted by Election Commission of India (ECI) figures in the 2019 elections in around 373 parliamentary seats. How the number of votes polled can vary from the number of votes counted,” he said,

This question still begs an answer from the EC. But the EC, instead of explaining it, deleted the whole data from its website, he pointed out.

Activists releasing posters for ‘EVM Hatao-Desh Bachao-Ballot Paper Lao’ campaign to be launched on August 9.

“If the BJP is as popular as it claims, why then it is reluctant to revert to the paper ballot. It will get votes and win anyway irrespective of whether the elections are conducted through ballot or EVM,” the student leader said.

Concurring with his views, noted activist Shabnam Hashmi, one of the co-conveners of the EVM Virodhi Rashtriya Jan Andolan, questioned the ruling BJP’s U-turn on the possibility of EVM tampering as they themselves flagged off the issue in a big way and wrote an entire book on it after 2009 general election.

Criticising the ECI for its alleged dubious role during the elections, she said how the elections could be rigged under its watch.

“Till 5 pm, the voting ratio hovers around 40 -50 per cent but within an hour it jumps to 70 to 75 per cent. How can this happen,” she asked and pointed out that before the exit polls were announced for the Elections 2019, every channel had pegged 180-200 seats to the BJP but through exit polls, the ruling party managed to create “Haw” (favorable wave) for itself as nobody questions its “landslide victory”.

She said the August 9 protest is being organised in many parts of India which will be joined by almost all opposition leaders.

Giving details of the march against EVMs to be held in Delhi, she said it will proceed from Mandi House at 11 am and culminate at Jantar Mantra where experts will also give a demo on how EVMs are tampered with.

Leaders like Shared Yana from the JD-U, Danish Ali of the BSP and Sanjay Singh of AAP and leaders of Congress, NCP, and other political parties have confirmed their participation in the protest.

The organisers have also appealed all political parties and the people to urgently recognize the threats posed by the manipulations of EVM, that compromise a free and fair election, and urge them to join in the protest on a large scale.

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