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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Widespread complaints of EVM tampering in Orissa

Widespread complaints of EVM tampering in Orissa
Parties unite in condemning BJD manipulation
By Deepak Kumar Rath

The massive mandate in favour of BJD in Orissa has surprised the people of the state, who have raised their eyebrows at the election outcome and are questioning whether it is the people’s mandate or that of the electronic voting machines (EVMs). All predictions and surveys have proved to be wrong including that of the special branch of the government.

The election in Orissa was conducted in two phases—on April 16 and 23. In the first phase, EVM tampering was allegedly done in some selected pockets of Ganjam district. In the second phase, it was reported to have been done on a massive scale. As a result of this, the BJD with its partners was able to capture 64 assembly seats out of 77 seats and seven parliamentary seats out of 11 seats in that phase alone. After the counting was over, it was found that the candidates, who were sure to lose even according to their own estimation, won the election by an unbelievable margin of 30 thousand to 50 thousand votes.

It is learnt from the reliable sources that some BJD MLAs, who had never dreamt of winning the election, are attributing their win to the blessings of the BJD chief and his loyal official machinery, which allegedly helped in tampering the EVMs. Some of the BJD MLAs before the counting of the votes were told by some of the collectors that they would definitely win the election by some definite margin, which was confirmed after the counting.

Senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister Shri JB Patnaik alleged that the BJD had won the election by distributing huge amount of black money and tampering with EVMs. He demands an inquiry into the matter so that all the misdeeds of BJD could be exposed. At a press conference, the Congress leaders like Shri Sivananda Ray, state vice president, Shri Lalatendu Bidyadhar Mahapatra, state working president, and Shri Ramakrishna Patnaik also made allegations of tampering with EVMs.

The BJP legislative party leader Shri KV Singhdeo, while talking to Organiser, said: “The issue of EVM tampering cannot be ruled out. This needs to be inquired into by a non-government international agency, involved in software development and electronic. An all-party panel should be formed, which would monitor the inquiry so that the issue could be put to rest for all time to come.” He pointed out that after the polling was over, the EVMs stored in the strong rooms, were not sealed up to 36 to 48 hours under the pretext of segregating and bifurcating votes cast to MPs and MLAs into one envelope. No political party was allowed entry within 100 metres of the strong rooms. What actually happened during that period is anybody’s guess, Shri Singhdeo added.

The BJP state core committee presided by BJP state president Shri Suresh Pujari and attended by Shri BB Harichandan, Shri Jual Oram, Shri Dilip Roy, Shri Bijoy Mahapatra, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan and others made the similar allegations of blatant tampering with EVMs. Orissa state president of Samajwadi Party Shri Kailash Mishra and the Samrudha Orissa state president Shri Jyotish Mahanty also made accusations of tampering with EVMs citing various instances. For instance, take the case of Bhubaneswar, which this correspondent I very closely observed when he toured all over the state to observe the election there. Shri BB Harichandan, who was not only the leader of the BJP legislative party but as a minister had handled many portfolios since 1977 very effectively. In the assembly elections of 2000 and 2004, he won from the same Bhubaneswar constituency by massive margins of 96,000 and 86,000 votes respectively against his nearest rivals. Those were the highest margins in the state in both the elections. In the 2009 election, his rival the BJD candidate who appeared unworthy in the estimation of the people, won from this constituency. This was not the scenario in Bhubaneswar alone, on all the 77 assembly seats and 11 Lok Sabha seats in the second phase of election, all the popular leaders of the opposition, i.e. BJP and Congress, have been defeated, which the people are not prepared to believe.

Tampering with EVMs was allegedly detected at many places in the state. At the Nima Sahi booth in Cuttack it was detected that all votes are recorded on the BJD symbol, though different buttons were pressed by the voters. After this issue was brought to light by the BJP candidate Shri Samir Day, there was public pressure and re-polling was conducted at this booth. Although there were similar complaints from Bhubaneswar and different parts of the state, they were not entertained.

Another surprising factor is that the original Bhubaneswar assembly constituency has now been divided into three constituencies. In all the three constituencies, the BJP candidates including Shri Harichandan got about 11 thousand votes each—in Bhubaneswar (Central) 11,400, Bhubaneswar (Northern) 11,300 and Ekamra, (Bhubaneswar) 11,070. Not only that, in the three adjoining constituencies of Bhubaneswar, the BJP candidates got about 11 thousand votes, i.e. in Delang and Pipili 11,170 votes each and Jayadev 10,800. Is it a mere coincidence or a fishy political propaganda that all BJP candidates in those constituencies could get about votes to a definite figure, i.e., 11,000 votes? Thus, it confirms the belief that EVMs have been very meticulously programmed and tampered with.

There is another astonishing aspect in this election that all the wellknown and reputed leaders of the opposition both BJP and Congress, who were sure to win in the public estimation, have been defeated. BJP leaders like Shri Bijay Mahapatra, Shri Brijkishore Tripathy, Shri Jual Oram, Shri Kharvel Swain and Shri Dhamendra Pradhan, and Congress leaders like Shri Nalinikant Mohanty, Shri Ramakrishna Patnaik, Shri Lalatendu Bidyadhar Mahapatra, Shri Chandrasekhar Sahu, Shri Niranjan Patnaik, Shri Jayadev Jena, and Shri Soumyaranjan Patnaik have been defeated. It appears as if a list of such leaders was prepared and then they have been butchered in a planned manner with the help of EVMs. Therefore, in Orissa the election outcome is now called yantradesh, not janadesh, i.e. it is not the mandate of the people but of the EVMs.

Sudarshanji questions EVMs’ credibility
By Golak Chandra Das

Cuttack (Visakeo): The former RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri KS Sudarshan has questioned the credibility of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) that are being used during polls instead of ballot papers.

“The general elections have become a contempt of democracy as machines playing greater role than the voters,” Shri Sudarshan said while addressing the concluding ceremony of Sangh Shiksha Varga held at OMP Ground here. The Pratham Verga had kicked off on May 15 and concluded on June 4. A total of 219 youth participated in the Varga at Keonjhar and Bhawanipatana.

Second year camp started on May 15 and concluded on June 5. A total of 86 swayamsevaks participated in the second year Varga at Cuttack.

Various political parties have successfully tampered EVMs to keep power, which was witnessed in West Bengal in way back in 2004, he added.

“It was a shock for the democracy,” he said adding that the EVMs are not being used in developed countries like Germany and the USA.

The party with more than 50 per cent of the whole population opposing, is ruling now, Shri Sudarshan said indirectly referring to Congress.

Cuttack Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee secretary Gurudeb Singh, DD Patnaik, HJS national coordinator Harihar Nanda, Sah Kshetra Pracharak, Ajit Prasad Mohapatra, Kshetra Sharirik Pramukha, Ghanshyam Mohapatra, former Sanghachalak Bhupen Basu, Sah-Prant Sanghachalak Hemant Dhir, BMS national organising secretary KC Mishra, senior Pracharak Rangaraje, Sah-Prant Karyavah Durga P Sahoo and Anil Mishra, Prant Pracharak Jagadish P Khadanga, Sah-Prant Pracharak BB Nanda and Prant Sharirik Pramukh Sudarshan Das were also present on the occasion.


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