Election Commission (EC) and two EVM manufacture’s (ECIL & BEL) response to an RTI revealed major administrative and security protocol violations as several machines were apparently handled by unqualified staff and flagrantly exposed to security lapses. The response to the RTI query also revealed divergence in EC and Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) data on numbers of ballot units and control units that have been manufactured over the year. Further, it has indicated that proper records on disposal of the EVMs were not available. Additionally, 70 cases of EVM thefts have also been reported with no convictions so far. Incidentally, all such cases were reported from states which are now under BJP rule. Coincidence?
The RTI petitioner said when he filed a query under the RTI Act with the ECIL about the number of personnel deployed by it for the elections in Uttarakhand, he was told by ECIL that eight regular employees were posted by it in Uttarakhand for the assembly elections 2017 for ‘first level checks’. Furthermore, the petition charged that none of the eight ECIL personnel deployed as per the election office reply were qualified for the job. These included people from virtually all walks of life such as car dealers, a shoe store owner, train service operator, mobile operator, and even librarians and hotel accommodation staff. Hence the question, who carried out these ‘first level checks'?
On one hand, the EC responded saying that 10,14,644 BUs and 9,34,031 CUs were manufactured by ECIL. On the other, the ECIL responded saying that it had manufactured 13,70,391 BUs and 11,31,399 CUs.Thus, 1,97,368 more units of CUs and 3,55,747 more units of BUs were manufactured by the ECIL than those disclosed by the EC. Where and to whom did these additional units go to? The same issue becomes real worrying when we find that the EC had no data on the disposal of the EVMs too. Thereby, raising a serious question on the use of these extra machines and by who.
Ironically, all EVM tampering situations and the theft cases, as reported by the RTI come from now BJP ruled states. Incidentally, amongst all ‘reported’ EVM malfunction instances (UP, Maharashtra, Assam), no matter where you pressed, the vote always seems to be re-routed towards the ‘Lotus’. Another coincidence? Obviously not. The only burning question remains is that with such blatant flouting of security protocols and new unearthing’s of BJPs dirty election tricks every day, one can only wonder how deep is the extent of EVM tampering by the ruling party.