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Karnataka Cong MLA strikes different note on EVMs

Last updated on: May 22, 2019 22:15 IST

IMAGE: A security person stands guard near a strong room where EVMs are kept in Akshardham, New Delhi. Photograph: Kamal Kishore/PTI Photo

In another note of dissent within the Karnataka Congress, MLA K Sudhakar questioned on Wednesday why the issue of alleged Electronic Voting Machina manipulation was being brought into the discourse about the Lok Sabha exit poll predictions.

Sudhakar's stand is contrary to that of the Congress, which has joined other opposition parties in upping the ante on alleged EVM tampering or manipulation ahead of the counting of votes on Thursday.

The Congress MLA's remarks came a day after senior party lawmaker Roshan Baig unleashed a scathing attack on its state leadership, calling Pradesh Congress Committee chief Dinesh Gundu Rao a 'flop show' and party generalsecretary K C Venugopal a 'buffoon'.

 

Sudhakar, who had often been vocal in airing his grievances against the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government in the southern state, tweeted on Tuesday night, saying EVM tampering and exit polls were two different things.

The Chikkaballapura MLA tweeted: 'Personally I am confused why the issue of EVM manipulation is being brought into conversation while talking about the exit poll results. When in fact the exit poll results indicate the feeling of the voter at the conclusion of polling.'

Later, talking to PTI, Sudhakar clarified that he had only said exit polls had nothing to do with EVM tampering.

"I have only spoken about exit polls because some people have a difference of opinion on them. I said it had nothing to do with EVM tampering...because exit polls are conducted on the polling day," he said.

The Congress MLA added that exit polls were conducted by media houses and different professionals who went to polling booths, spoke to the voters and determined their opinion.

"Whatever opinion is built, becomes part of the exit polls," he said.

"Sometimes they predict it right and sometimes they go wrong. So how can you blame the EVMs for that?" he asked.

As the tweet created quite a furore in the political circles, Sudhakar convened a press meet to clear the air. He said his tweet was misunderstood and wanted to convey to all the political parties that they were reading too much into the exit polls.

The MLA insisted that exit poll results have nothing to do with the tampering of EVMs.

The MLA also asked the bogey raising the issue of EVM tampering not to demean the process of democracy, the Indian institutions and ridicule the conscience and the decision of
the Indian voters.

"What if tomorrow UPA wins? How do we take it from there? So I appeal to all the senior leaders involved in this to be patient till tomorrow till the election results are
finally out. Otherwise, we will be demeaning the process of democracy, the institutions that we have formed and especially we will be ridiculing the conscience and the decision of the Indian voters," the Chikkaballapura MLA said.

He specifically asked Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, who is leading the Opposition on the issue of the safety and security of EVMs,to justify how he won 2014 elections through EVMs.

"He (Chandrababu Naidu) has also won in 2014 through EVMs only. So should we question how we won then using the same EVM and why he doubts in 2019?" Sudhakar sought to know.

As the speculations were rife that he would switch sides, Sudhakar insisted that he was in the Congress, but remained non-committal about his future.

"I am in the Congress party. I am still a Congress MLA. Future nobody knows. I don't want to speculate on my future," Sudhakar said.

The MLA stood firm on his stand that the Congress-JD(S) alliance in Karnataka was unholy, a statement he gave the previous year, which created a controversy.

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