EVM Politics in UP Assembly Elections

Once Again, Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) are under scrutiny. EVMs are being used, instead of paper ballot since few year in Assembly and General Elections. Ongoing debate is about the use of EVMs in Elections, whether they can be manipulated or not?

Before starting the discussion, I would answer the question. YES, EVMs are not God-like and they certainly are not 100% tamper-proof. But It, certainly, is much safer than paper ballots . Going back to the paper ballot is certainly not the solution, rather it will be like going backwards in Electoral Reforms. We have better technologies to assist EVMs and Election Commission of India is experimenting with a few. 

Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) System is one such example. It is being used by the Election Commission of India alongwith EVMs in certain Constituent Assemblies to assist the voters. It helps the voters in verifying their vote. 

VVPAT with EVM  (Source)
VVPAT was used in 20 Assembly Seats in Uttar Pradesh General Elections for Legislative Constituencies in the 2017 Elections. VVPAT was also used in 2 Assembly Seats in Punjab, 4 assembly seats in Uttarakhand (BHEL Ranipur, Dharampur, Haldwani and Rudrapur), 6 Assembly constituencies of Manipur (Singjamei, Uripok, Yaiskul, Khurai, Nambol and Thoubal) and all the assembly seats in Goa Elections. 

Let us examine the truth. First of All, VVPAT was used in 20 Assembly seats in UP. VVPAT Machines were used  in three assembly constituencies in Lucknow (Lucknow West, Lucknow North and Lucknow East). In addition to Lucknow, VVPAT machines were used in Agra (Agra Cantonment and Agra South); Aligarh (Aligarh); Bareilly (Bareilly); Kanpur (Govind Nagar and Arya Nagar); Ghaziabad (Ghaziabad); Meerut (Meerut); Moradabad (Moradabad); Saharanpur (Saharanpur Nagar); Allahabad (Allahabad North and Allahabad South); Faizabad (Ayodhya); Gorakhpur (Gorakhpur Urban); Jhansi (Jhansi Nagar) and Varanasi (Varanasi North and Varanasi Cantonment). (Source)

Now let us examine Constituency-wise results for EVMs with VVPAT in UP Assembly Elections, 2017: (Source: Election Commission Website)

1.  LUCKNOW - Lucknow West (2012: SP)

SURESH KUMAR SHRIVASTAVBharatiya Janata Party93022
MOD REHANSamajwadi Party79950
ARMAAN KHANBahujan Samaj Party36247

2. LUCKNOW - Lucknow North (2012: SP)

DR.NEERAJ BORABharatiya Janata Party109315
ABHISHEK MISHRSamajwadi Party82039
AJAY KUMAR SRIVASTAVABahujan Samaj Party29955

3. LUCKNOW - Lucknow East (2012: BJP)

ASHUTOSH TANDAN "GOPAL JI"Bharatiya Janata Party135167
ANURAG SINGHIndian National Congress55937
SAROJ KUMAR SHUKLABahujan Samaj Party3139

4. AGRA - Agra Cantonment (2012: BSP)

DR. GIRRAJ SINGH DHARMESHBharatiya Janata Party113178
GUTIYARI LAL DUWESHBahujan Samaj Party66853
MAMTA KAUDANSamajwadi Party64683

5. AGRA - Agra South (2012: BJP)

YOGENDRA UPADHYAYABharatiya Janata Party111882
ZULFIQAR AHMAD BHUTTOBahujan Samaj Party57657
NAZIR AHMEDIndian National Congress39434

6. ALIGARH- Aligarh (2012: SP)

SANJEEV RAJABharatiya Janata Party113752
ZAFAR ALAMSamajwadi Party98312
MOHD ARIFBahujan Samaj Party25704

7. BAREILLY - Bareilly (2012: BJP)

DR. ARUN KUMARBharatiya Janata Party115010
PREM PRAKASH AGARWALIndian National Congress86343
ER. ANEES AHAMAD KHANBahujan Samaj Party14588

8. KANPUR - Govind Nagar (2012: BJP)
(I belong from this Assembly Constituency and verified the VVPAT for my vote. )

SATYA DEV PACHAURIBharatiya Janata Party112029
AMBUJ SHIKLAIndian National Congress40520
NIRMAL TIWARIBahujan Samaj Party28795

9. KANPUR - Arya Nagar (2012: BJP)

AMITABH BAJPAISamajwadi Party70993
SALIL VISHNOIBharatiya Janata Party65270
A HASIVBahujan Samaj Party6061

10. GHAZIABAD - Ghaziabad (2012: BSP)

ATUL GARGBharatiya Janata Party124201
SURESH BANSALBahujan Samaj Party53696
K K SHARMAIndian National Congress39648

11. MEERUT - Meerut (2012: BJP)

RAFIQ ANSARISamajwadi Party103217
DR. LAXMIKANT BAJPAIBharatiya Janata Party74448
PANKAJ JAULIBahujan Samaj Party12636

12. MORADABAD - Moradabad (2012: SP)

RITESH KUMAR GUPTABharatiya Janata Party123467
MOHAMMAD YUSUF ANSARISamajwadi Party120274
ATEEQ AHMED SAIFIBahujan Samaj Party24650

13. SAHARANPUR - Saharanpur Nagar (2012: BJP)

SANJAY GARGSamajwadi Party127210
RAJIV GUMBERBharatiya Janata Party122574
MUKESH DIXITBahujan Samaj Party17350

14. ALLAHABAD - Allahabad North (2012: INC)

HARSHVARDHAN BAJPAIBharatiya Janata Party89191
ANUGRAH NARAIN SINGHIndian National Congress54166
AMITBahujan Samaj Party23388

15. ALLAHABAD - Allahabad South (2012: SP)

NAND GOPAL GUPTA NANDIBharatiya Janata Party93011
PARVEZ AHMADSamajwadi Party64424
MASOOQ KHANBahujan Samaj Party12162

16. FAIZABAD - Ayodhya (2012: SP)

VED PRAKASH GUPTABharatiya Janata Party107014
MO. BAZMI SIDDEKEBahujan Samaj Party39554

17. GORAKHPUR - Gorakhpur Urban (2012: BJP)

DR. RADHA MOHAN DAS AGRAWALBharatiya Janata Party122221
RANA RAHUL SINGHIndian National Congress61491
JANARDAN CHOUDHARIBahujan Samaj Party24297

18. JHANSI - Jhansi Nagar (2012: BJP)

RAVI SHARMABharatiya Janata Party117873
SITA RAM KUSHWAHABahujan Samaj Party62095
RAHUL RAIIndian National Congress51242

19. VARANASI - Varanasi North (2012: BJP)

RAVINDRA JAISWALBharatiya Janata Party116017
ABDUL SAMAD ANSARIIndian National Congress70515
SUJEET KUMAR MAURYABahujan Samaj Party32574

20. VARANASI - Varanasi Cantonment (2012: BJP)

SAURABH SRIVASTAVABharatiya Janata Party132609
ANIL SRIVASTAVAIndian National Congress71283
RIJWAN AHMADBahujan Samaj Party14118

As is evident, out of the 20 Assembly seats where VVPAT was used, 17 have gone to Bhartiya Janata Party and the 3 others have gone to Samajwadi Party which is very much consistent with overall Election Results. Surprisingly, These results are even consistent with 2012 Assembly Election Results. In all the 20 cases, the party that won in 2012 has either won in 2017 as well or has been runner-up without even a single exception. Similarly, Election Results for other states for the assembly constituencies with VVPAT can be verified and it will show no inconsistency to the overall election results of that particular state.

Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) System is the solution to the vulnerability of Electronic Voting Machines and it can also assist in the situation when any recounting of the votes is needed. It does not deny the fact that EVMs can not malfunction at times, but when they do, it is known and they are immediately replaced. Malfunctioning will not result in vote going to some specific party but rather they will not work at all. Some such incidents happened during Punjab Assembly Elections and revoting also took places at some polling booths for the same reason. 
(Faulty Voting Machines cause delay at Polling Stations)

Political Parties BSP, SP and AAP are raising voices against the use of EVMs and their probable tampering but none has gone for an impartial approach towards tackling the issue. They have been selfish about the use of EVMs correponding to the results which makes me uneasy about their hidden motives behind questioning the usage of EVMs. 

VVPAT was used with the EVMs in all the assembly constituencies in Goa and results of AAP are self-evident. It is also worth mentioning here that before Goa Elections, Congress and NCP requested the Election Commission for parallel counting of votes on VVPAT and EVMs, but the resolution was not supported by AAP and BJP. (Source)

Thus, It is time for these political parties to rethink their political agenda and what really went wrong for them than just making a mountain out of a mole. EVMs with VVPAT is the way forward for the future elections to shut the voices rising against the use of EVMs. 

(My only intent behind this article was to factually examine the allegations raised and fact check is totally against some viral articles which mention that UP constituencies with use of VVPAT have not gone to BJP in most of the cases. This allegation turns out to be absolutely false in view of the facts which can be easily verified from Election Commission of India website. )


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