Even as the Opposition has presented a united front over the electronic voting machines tampering issue in the past few days, there seems to be infighting and disunity amongst the Congress party members with some being against their use, while others apparently not.
A day after Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh came out in defence of the EVMs, citing had there been any possibility of tampering with the EVMs, he would have not won the Punjab assembly elections, Congress leader Manish Tewari on Thursday said Singh had himself demonstrated as to how the EVMs could be manipulated, when he was the Punjab Congress Committee president in 2001.
"The chief minister of Punjab is a respected leader, but few years back in 2010 and even in 2001, when he was the PCC president, he had himself demonstrated as to how the EVMs can be gerrymandered," Tewari said.
Capt Amarinder Singh’s reaction came following his landslide victory in the Punjab Assembly elections, in which the Congress secured 77 out of 117 seats making a strong comeback after a decade.
While reacting on the open challenge thrown by the Election Commission to the opposition to hack the EVMs, Tewari said the poll-watchdog should not act as an advocate for the voting machines.
"It's extremely unfortunate that the Election Commission has taken upon itself the role of being the lawyer for the EVMs. Democracy is based upon public trust. It is based upon confidence which elected representatives have in the process. So, therefore, if there is a lack of confidence in the EVMs, why is the Election Commission holding itself as the advocate of the EVMs? What is the difficulty if the ECI agrees to hold elections by paper ballot?” said Tewari.
The Congress leader further said that if the stakeholders were unhappy with a particular process, then a revised decision was needed.
"Democracy is a process which is an in interplay between various stakeholders and if, therefore, the stakeholders are unhappy with a particular process, then I am afraid the EC needs to reconsider its stand," he said.
A Congress-led delegation led by party president Sonia Gandhi had submitted a memorandum on the alleged irregularities in EVMs to President Pranab Mukherjee earlier on Wednesday.
The delegation included several popular Congress leaders including party vice-president Rahul Gandhi, Satyavrat Chaturvedi, and Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad among others.
Post meeting with President Mukherjee, Azad said that the alleged tampering of EVMs and the backdoor entry by the Bharatiya Janata Party to form the governments in Goa and Manipur, have raised questions on the electoral process in the country.
Azad said that the united Opposition sought the President’s intervention to maintain the constitutional safeguards in India.
EC's only aim is to bring BJP to power: Digvijay
Launching a veiled attack on the EC over its open challenge, Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh on Thursday questioned the poll watchdog, citing those who are involved in the ‘roaring’ business of hacking would never expose themselves.
In a series of tweets, Singh said, ‘Those who are hacking are doing roaring business why should they expose themselves?’
Emphasising that the poll panel’s only aim was to bring the BJP to power at any cost, Singh asserted that the saffron party and the hackers are the biggest beneficiaries.
'BJP and the Hackers are the only beneficiaries. No one kills a Golden Goose?' Singh tweeted.
IMAGE: President Pranab Mukherjee meets a delegation of opposition leaders, led by Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, at Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi over the allegations of EVM tampering. Photograph: PTI Photo