BJP leaders mock opposition for blaming EVMs for defeat in Assembly polls

New Delhi: As some opposition leaders have raised questions on EVMs after Assembly poll results were announced in five states, BJP leaders mocked them on Tuesday, saying they are looking for excuses to hide their own shortcomings.

As the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged victorious in three Hindi heartland states — Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh — in the recent round of Assembly polls, several opposition leaders raised questions over electronic voting machines, even as some said they had faith in the EVMs.

Union Rural Development Minister Giriraj Singh slammed the opposition and said they blame EVMs whenever they fail to win elections.

“There is nothing new. The opposition, whoever it may be, when they win, they are fine with the EVMs, but when they lose, they blame it on the EVMs,” he said.

Another BJP leader, S P Singh Baghel, said, “With these EVMs, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) won elections in Delhi thrice and in Punjab once, the Samajwadi Party (SP) got an absolute majority (in Uttar Pradesh) in 2012, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) got an absolute majority (in Uttar Pradesh) in 2007 and the Congress won Telangana.” He used an idiom — “Naach na jane angan tedha (a bad workman blames his tools)” — to explain the situation.

Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) MP Chirag Paswan said the opposition is being repetitive.

“There is nothing new, but if you are raising questions in three states, also question the Telangana victory. This is a done-to-death formula. It is repetitive. Why do you go for campaigning if you think the EVMs are manipulated? You do selective criticism in states where you have lost elections. You need to accept and understand your loss,” he said.

Senior BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy said EVMs have been around for a long time.

“EVMs have been there for the last 18-19 years. They (opposition) do not raise these questions when they win elections. Do they not trust people? I think after repeated defeats, it is ridiculous that the opposition still raises this,” he said.

Actor and BJP MP Ravi Kishan said, “It was known that they would blame the EVMs. Their brains have stopped working. Their corruption and appeasement have been rejected by people, so they are saying such immature things,” he said.

“The country has rejected the opposition. In the future, the BJP will win every election,” he asserted.

Actor-turned-politician Dinesh Lal Yadav Nirahua said, “The opposition will keep crying over EVMs and (Prime Minister Narendra) Modiji will come back with 400 (Lok Sabha) seats next year.” Several opposition leaders said the doubts over the EVMs have been growing.

Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Saugata Roy said there are concerns that should be addressed.

“Our party has not taken a decision on this but there are, obviously, questions. Many opposition parties have raised the question that EVMs can be manipulated by telephone. Also, an Israeli technology has come into question in this matter. The government has taken a pro-Israel stand in the recent conflict (between Israel and Hamas). This needs to be looked into thoroughly,” Roy said.

“The results in several states were very surprising and led to the doubt about EVM functioning,” he added.

BSP MP Danish Ali said he has always been against EVMs.

“Questions on EVMs are being raised for long. It was questioned by the BJP’s Lal Krishna Advani. BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP G V L Narasimha Rao has written a book on it,” he said.

“Even when I was elected as an MP, I had said I will continue protesting against EVMs. Winning or losing is another issue, but even developed countries have stopped using EVMs. People do not have faith. Why not use ballot paper?” he asked.

Communist Party of India (CPI) MP Binoy Viswam said it is a serious matter to ponder over.

“The confidence over EVMs is diminishing. More and more people are believing that EVMs are doing mischief in elections,” he said.

Congress MP Karti Chidambaram, however, said he has confidence in EVMs.

“My personal opinion on EVMs remains unchanged. I have full confidence in EVMs. I know that many of my party colleagues have a different opinion, but I have always been very confident about EVMs,” he said.

The issue was raked up after Congress’s Rajya Sabha member Digvijaya Singh questioned the reliability of EVMs on Tuesday, following his party’s defeat in the Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh Assembly polls.

The former Madhya Pradesh chief minister claimed that any machine with a chip can be hacked and said he has opposed voting by EVMs since 2003.