A gift given to us by the Indian democracy is that of universal suffrage. On the one hand ‘equality of voting right’ gave us freedom to choose a party to govern the nation, states and local bodies, and on the other, more importantly, made us equal citizens, in an unequal society.In the past, there have been many efforts to subvert the right to vote freely. Physical intimidation and Booth Capturing were the most common methods that were used during the paper ballot era.
The elections are over and the Uttar Pradesh results have left every one, including the BJP, stunned. No one had expected that the BJP would win so many seats. There was no wave in favour or against any party and even the BJP supported pollsters had not predicted such a huge victory. Shocking as the results were, unexpectedness, became the basis for the doubts raised by many.
Mayawati was the first to question the validity of the results, opening the floodgates of suspicion associated with EVMs. Just after the results were declared, a section of the electronic media showed how EVMs could be tampered. Soon the social media went on a spin and allegations and assumptions crisscrossed cell phone networks across India.
The EVMs were first introduced in India in 1980s on an experimental basis. It is important to continue the debate because if EVMs are not foolproof, Indian democracy will be in danger, as a vote becomes valueless in the process.People have always been sceptical about EVMs being claimed as ‘tamperproof’, ‘fully safe’ or ‘fully-protected from outside attacks’. However, on the basis of feelings, rejecting a claim made by a highly responsible agency like the Election Commission or the members of two ‘expert committees’ would be utterly wrong.
The first one was constituted in 1990 and was composed of C. Rao Kasarbada, P.V. Indiresan, and S. Sampath and the second was constituted in 2006 with A.K. Agarwala and D.T. Shahani and P.V. Indiresan, as its members. The experts were the best names in their own fields. But were they experts in the field of computer security? I think not! Over the years, there have been several allegations on the credibility of EVMs. Since 2010, the number of videos and articles on how an EVM could be manipulated has increased exponentially.
The Supreme Court has recently given a notice to the Election Commission on the alleged tampering of EVMs during the recent elections that were held in 5 states even if it held itself back to involve CBI for investigation. Having said that, there still are people out there who believe that EVMs are tamperproof. Security in numbers is dangerous and misleading, yet an accepted argument.
The question that remains in front of us is that are these EVMs really tampered, or are they clean? In which case, the society might be tampered. Either ways, there is nothing seemingly fair in our elections. The BJP has asked people to have full faith in EVMs. That’s perfectly fine, but what about the faith in BJP itself? The credibility of EVMs will decide the fate of Indian democracy.
Author: Akshay Palande
Akshay Palande is a passionate teacher helping hundreds of students in their UPSC preparation. With a degree in Mechanical Engineering and double masters in Public Administration and Economics, he has experience of teaching UPSC aspirants for 5 years. His subject of expertise are Geography, Polity, Economics and Environment and Ecology.