Sore losers as they are, opposition leaders, cutting across party lines, blame their defeat on EVMs and are waging a losing battle against the EC. If they had won, would they still have demanded paper ballot in place of EVMs?
While their inconsistencies continue to flourish in our democracy, voters no longer have the patience to listen to this rubbish. It is necessary that these parties understand why people are turning against them, fast and furious
In the world of Indian politics, inconsistency could be called a virtue. When it comes to the election results, the dichotomy is more evident cutting across all party lines. If we presume that reason dominates the arguments of politicians, both well-known and lesser known, we may be wrong.
Take the case of EVMs. These are in news once again of late, with the losers claiming tampered EVMs as responsible for their defeat in the recent elections. The only constant seems to be the contention of the Election Commission, which, has been categorically asserting that these machines, in India, at least, are not tamperable.
I, for once, felt safe and secure with the EVMs right through the years since their introduction because I have seen politicians speaking the exact opposite whenever they lost. Perhaps, I would have suspected the EVMs if the same politicians stood by only one view.
The Election Commission has now gone ahead and challenged the anti-EVM brigade to a hackathon too. Today we have the Mayawatis, Kejriwals, Akhileshs and a whole range of Congress leaders sullying the EVMs and, thereby, the much-applauded democratic process of our country. Of course, the worst loser of all, Kejriwal, goes a step further and rechristened the Election Commission as a Modi-fied agency.
We have also seen the BSP approach to the apex court. Way back in 2010, when the suave and tech-savvy N Chandrababu Naidu, having lost the elections in 2009, vent his anger against the EVMs, it shocked many. Naidu went ahead and declared that the EVMs were not untamperable. He sought a national debate to clear all doubts "in the minds of voters.” Naidu being intelligent cast the aspersions on behalf of the people.
The occasion was the launching a website www.indianevm.com hosted by an election analyst G V L Narasimha Rao (yes, the same one. The very same Rao who now vociferously defends the BJP) and an information technologist, Hariprasad. The latter is the same infamous technologist who broke into a godown where the EVMs were kept in Maharashtra "only to prove to the world that they are tamperable," and was arrested only to be defended by the likes of Naidu.
Naidu went ahead and declared, “I am convinced that there is scope for tampering with the EVMs.” He would not blame the Election Commission but repeated that people were not sure whether the votes they cast went to the candidates of their choice.
He further buttressed his argument to say that when Germany, Singapore and some other European countries had gone back to the paper ballot because the EVMs were found tamperable and hackable, there was no point in continuing with the same in India.
His advice to the CEC then was: "The EC should not stand on false prestige and gracefully go in for a debate as the issue involved the fundamental rights of the citizens.” In fact, Naidu wanted to pursue the matter with other parties too.
The former Chief Secretary of Delhi and an IIT alumnus, Omesh Saigal, was only too willing to join the issue against the EVMs. He declared that, "the chip of the EVMs is allowed to be written in the United States of America and hence it is like a Trojan horse sitting inside the machine.”
When the CEC countered the propaganda none came forward to prove it or demonstrate their claims. In fact, 12 parties including CPI(M), RJD, SP and JD (U) came together to write a letter to the CEC in favour of this argument.
Much earlier, before the 2004 elections itself, Naidu's bete noire, late Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, was also “suspicious of the EVMs,” though he did not make much fuss over the same. He, however, requested a group of journalists to check with the ECIL itself in this regard airing tampering doubts. The journalists witnessed a demonstration and came back and told Dr Reddy that the EVMs were safe and sound.
After he won the elections for his party, Reddy smiled and said, "my claim was only to prevent tampering of the EVMs by the TDP-BJP combine.” If he were to lose, he would have surely argued that the EVMs had been tampered and hence the defeat.
Mahatma Gandhi once said, "an institution that suffers from a plethora of leaders is surely in a bad way.” We are not just suffering but also enduring these turncoat leaders. While these inconsistencies continue to flourish in our democracy, voters no longer have the patience to listen to this rubbish.
The restless voters seek action. They want fulfillment of the promises made during the campaign. They are reluctant to tolerate any nonsense and have developed a "you better work for us now" attitude having voted someone to power.
It is necessary that these parties understand why people are turning against them, fast and furious. Another argument that the losers should have been polled more votes because they have a large membership in the constituency also does not hold water. More often than not, these are all cooked up membership numbers. Secondly, even if voters enroll themselves, why would anyone tolerate deficiency in governance for more than a single term?
Take the case of AAP itself. AAP leadership, sometimes drawn from louts and touts in the name of democracy and anti-corruption fight, apart from the respectable faces that we come across, is no longer a voters' choice. These oafs who displayed their bigger political ambitions from day one recklessly swept aside people's welfare and interest into a dustbin and tried to anoint themselves as the only alternative to governance in the country.
AAP should have known that the same Delhi voters chose Narendra Modi to rule the country and Kejriwal, for Delhi. The former is doing his bit in his job, but the latter did not even opt for any responsibility and remained a CM without portfolio.
However much Kejriwal and his defenders might deny, the Aam Aadmi scorned the practice of filling up all available offices with the kin of the leaders with comfortable perks. Good governance became a casualty as also the cause of anti-corruption crusade.
Somewhere down the line, he took an ill-advice seriously and began nurturing the dreams of occupying the PMO as a middle class representative and started attacking the Prime Minister on a daily basis to cover up his own failures.
Came the Punjab elections, he planned to shift to the State and goaded his deputy to proclaim himself as the CM candidate. Voters simply did not like it, neither in Delhi nor in Punjab. The loss of AAP in the by-election to Rajouri Garden of the Capital now should be an eye-opener. Jarnail Singh, the AAP MLA, should not have been shifted to Punjab at all in the first place.
The anger of the voter not only made the BJP snatch the seat with elan, but also revived the Congress signalling to Congress voters 'Ghar Vapsi' in Delhi. The upcoming civil elections would prove whether the restless voters have given up on AAP.
The voter is like our filmy Zohan and You don't mess with the Zohan! For that matter, every politician should remember this. Instead of talking about tampering of EVMs, they should try to temper the voters in their favour with good governance.
The former may not be easier given the technology (including Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail), but the latter is, because all that it requires is a certain amount of basic honesty. The leaders should be more worried about the trust-deficiency in the voters and work to erase it to win the elections, not blame the machines.