A major controversy sparked after the EVMs used for DUSU polls developed glitches during the counting of votes on Thursday. DU authorities suspended vote¬†counting for nearly three hours as students started a protest¬†against the faulty EVMs and the alleged cheating.¬†Later in the evening, the Election Commission of India (ECI) released a statement specifying that the EVMs used in DUSU elections were not allotted by them, rather they were procured privately. The statement issued by ECI read, “We would like to clarify once again‚Ä¶that ECI is not responsible for the conduct of local body elections (municipalities, panchayats, etc.) that are conducted by the State Election Commissions and elections held by various organisations/institutions in the country and consequently about various protocols and procedures adopted by them.‚Äù¬†
ECI also said that multi-post EVMs (which are used to vote for multiple posts) were used in the students’ union elections while ECI only uses single-post EVMs.¬†The EVMs used were purchased from the Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL), a government enterprise after obtaining a no-objection certificate from ECI in 2008.
An official from DU said,¬†‚ÄúWe have been using EVMs since 2009 and there has been no issue whatsoever so far. Every year before the elections, engineers from ECIL will fix the machines and set them to our requirements. Our EVMs have also been used by other agencies outside the university.‚Äù¬†
The “Aam Aadmi” opinion
Delhi CM, Arvind Kejriwal tweeted on Friday,¬†‚ÄúFrom where can u procure EVMs privately? Doesn‚Äôt ECI claim that no one can manufacture or buy or sell EVMs privately? Isn‚Äôt anyone found in possession of EVMs without ECI‚Äôs permission guilty of criminal offence?‚Äù¬†
AAP raised a question on the legality of procuring EVMs from a “private body” without ECI’s intervention. However, an ECI official said that DU might have purchased the machines before the rule to get ECI’s approval was set.
Demand for re-elections by Congress
Delhi Congress President,¬†Ajay Maken demanded DU to disclose the source of the EVMs. He alleged that ECIL procured faulty machines for the Election Commission on a contractual basis. Moreover, he said that NSUI candidates were leading the polls before the EVMs malfunctioned. He thereby demanded re-elections. ‚ÄúThe DUSU polls should be countermanded and fresh polls should be conducted on paper ballot,‚Äù he said at a press conference. Later he added,¬†‚ÄúIf there can be malfunctioning of EVMs in university elections, they can definitely do it during general elections as well.‚Äù
ECIL Additional General Manager, Rajiv Mathur responded,¬†‚ÄúThe same EVMs have been used every year for student elections.‚Äù
While it’s difficult to comment on the alleged cheating since there is no proof yet but the fact that glitches occurred in six EVMs cannot be ignored. Investigations will reveal the truth until then, ABVP bagged 3 posts and stands as the winner¬†of the 2018 DUSU elections.
NSUI will be staging a protest outside Nirvachan Sadan at 2 PM tomorrow in this regard.