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Election

EVMs can be manipulated, says former Delhi Chief Secretary

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New Delhi, Aug 12 : Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) can be manipulated, says a new book by former Delhi Chief Secretary Omesh Saigal.

Saigal says that he had told then Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla that the election results could be altered “if a pre-programmed code number was keyed” into the EVMs.

“A mock poll, in which the skewed result would mean that every fifth vote after the first 10 would go in favour of a particular candidate, was conducted in the presence of some eminent people where this was confirmed.

“This code could be keyed in at any stage, even at the time of the poll by any voter,” he says in the book “[email protected] – Tale Told by an IASs” (Har-Anand Publications).

Saigal says he had doubts about the fairness of the EVMs following the “thoroughly skewed and unexpected result” of the 2009 Lok Sabha election which saw the return of the Congress-led UPA to power.

The Election Commission maintains that the EVMs cannot be tampered with.

Saigal says his analysis of the 2009 results made him believe that if 10 per cent of the votes in 7,000 carefully selected booths of the winning candidate were transferred to the losing one, “the overall result of a victory for (BJP-led) NDA, as generally predicted, would result in a defeat, as had actually happened.

“The question was: could that be done? The answer, after my detailed analysis and study: a resounding yes!”

Saigal says he told the Election Commission that there were huge gaps in the so-called safeguards claimed in favour of the EVMs.

The EVMs’ manufacturer claims that programme codes once written and fused in the OTPROM (One Time Programmable Read Only Memory) cannot be read back or altered by anyone including the manufacturer.

Saigal asks: “Does this mean that even the Election Commission, when it received the machines, did not check and has not checked since whether the programme fused in by the manufacturer did not have a secret code as a string (Trojan) like the one we had prepared?”

The note given by Saigal to the poll panel went on: “If, as it seems, the Election Commission is relying on the certificate given by the manufacturer, we have no protection whatsoever against the manufacturer itself preparing a programme like the one prepared by the undersigned and fusing it on to the chip/circuit board.”

Dubbing the so-called safeguards of the EVMs as “cosmetics”, Saigal says he also conducted a mock poll at the residence of then Leader of Opposition L.K. Advani and BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu to show how the machines could be tampered with.

Advani, the book says, then issued a statement expressing doubts about the reliability of the EVMs and even suggested a return to the paper ballot if the doubts could not be resolved.

Saigal says that other political leaders also “took up the cudgels with renewed vigour demanding a thorough probe into the entire election process in their states in which they had unexpectedly been defeated”.

Election

Jayanagar By Poll Results: Congress’ Sowmya Reddy wins

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Congress

Bengaluru, June 13: The Congress on Wednesday won the election in Bengaluru’s Jayanagar constituency. 

Congress candidate Sowmya Reddy defeated BJP’s BN Prahlad by nearly 3000 votes.

With this victory, the Congress now has 79 seats in the Karnataka assembly.

The election was countermanded after the death of BJP candidate B.N. Vijayakumar.

BJP has fielded his brother B.N. Prahalad. Former state home minister Ramalinga Reddy’s daughter Sowmya Reddy is the Congress candidate.

On the related note, although Karnataka went to polls on May 12, elections in Jayanagar constituency was postponed to June 11.

Counting of votes for the 222 of the 224 assembly seats in Karnataka held on May 15.

In the state assembly election, though the Bharatiya Janata Party emerged as the single largest party with 104 seats, the Congress party with 78 seats and JD(S) with 37 seats, along with two independent candidates, stitched up a post-poll alliance with a total strength of 117 MLAs.

Even though the Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala invited the saffron party  to form the government with a time period of 15 days to prove their majority on the floor of the house, the Supreme Court in an interim order directed the floor test to be held in just two days, even after Yeddyurappa had sworn in as the Chief Minister of the state.

Failed to garner the required number of votes to form Government in the state, Yeddyurappa resigned as the Chief Minister ahead top court-ordered floor test on May 19.

Following this, ending the 10-day political turmoil in the southern state, Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy won the floor test after 117 MLAs voted in his favour May 26.

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Election

Jayanagar By Election: 51% voter turnout recorded till 5 PM

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Elections

Bengaluru, June 11: Around 51% voter turnout recorded till 5 PM in the Jayanagar assembly constituency on Monday. 

The election was countermanded after the death of BJP candidate B.N. Vijayakumar.

“34.05% voter turnout recorded till 1 PM in Bengaluru’s Jayanagar assembly constituency”, ANI reported.

BJP has fielded his brother B.N. Prahalad. Former state home minister Ramalinga Reddy’s daughter Sowmya Reddy is the Congress candidate.

According to news PTI, 10 per cent voting recorded till 9 am.

On the related note, Voting for the Karnataka assembly elections had taken place on May 12.

Counting of votes for the 222 of the 224 assembly seats in Karnataka held on May 15.

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Maharashtra CM violated poll codes: Congress complains to EC

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Congress

Mumbai/New Delhi, June 5: The Maharashtra Congress on Tuesday filed a formal complaint alleging violations of the Model Code of Conduct by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis during the recently held Lok Sabha by-elections in Palghar.

Maharashtra Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant on Tuesday said a three-page plea has been handed over to Chief Election Commissioner O.P. Rawat in the Election Commission headquarters in New Delhi.

According to news agency IANS report, the complaint details various incidents whereby Fadnavis allegedly violated the Model Code of Conduct in force during the by-poll, making announcements of various schemes, missing voters names and other discrepancies.

The plea has been sent in the name of Congress candidate in Palghar, Damodar Shingada, Former-MP, seeking a strong action against Fadnavis and other concerned officials.

Shingada noted that during the election, the Congress complained to the Returning Officers several times regarding these violations but no action was taken against them by the poll panel.

The Congress leader highlighted Fadnavis’ announcements promising waiver of ‘khavati’ loans and disbursal of new ‘khavati’ loans for tribals, a new medical college in the district, excluding 29 villages from the jurisdiction of Vasai-Virar Municipal Corporation.

Then came Fadnavis’ hugely controversial remarks exhorting BJP workers to use “Saam Daam, Dand Bhed” to clinch victory in Palghar elections at any cost, which Shingada described as a threat to ‘the people and opposition parties’, the instances of the saffron party workers caught distributing cash at the behest of local district party chief, and violation of the Rs 70 lakh spending limit by the winning BJP candidate Rajendra Gavit.

The plea also pointed out how a large number of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) — 282 in Palghar and 250 in Bhandara-Gondiya — were down due to technical glitches for hours.

The Congress complaint came six days after the Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray described the Palghar Lok Sabha by-elections as “a farce”.

On May 31, Thackeray had charged that large-scale manipulations were made in the EVMs with the knowledge of the EC officials.

In the two Lok Sabha bypolls in the state, the Bharatiya Janata Party retained the Palghar seat, but it lost the Bhandara-Gondiya seat to the Nationalist Congress Party.

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