BJP raises doubts on EVMs after losing Bengal by-polls. Ironical?
After losing the West Bengal assembly by-polls to the ruling Trinamool Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party has cast doubts on the reliability of electronic voting machines (EVMs). Ironical much? The BJP lost all three seats to TMC in the Bengal by-polls To recall, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had condemned accusations of EVM tampering during the general elections, calling them an insult to voters.
Suspecting foul play, Bengal BJP leader and party National Secretary, Rahul Sinha, claimed the state machinery openly helped the ruling TMC win all three seats in the by-polls, according to IANS. Raising doubts on the veracity of EVMs, Sinha said, "Anything can be done with the EVMs. You can't deny foul play of the ruling party in the counting."
In the recent by-polls, TMC's Tapan Deb Singha defeated BJP candidate Kamal Chandra Sarkar by 2,414 votes from the Kaliaganj seat. Meanwhile, TMC candidate Bimalendu Sinha Roy won the Karimpur seat against West Bengal BJP Vice President Jay Prakash Majumdar by a margin of around 24,000 votes. From Kharagpur Sadar, TMC's Pradip Sarkar beat BJP's Premchandra Jha by a 20,788-vote margin.
Sinha said, "During Lok Sabha elections, the BJP won the Kaliaganj and Kharagpur Sadar Assembly constituencies with huge margins whereas in Kaliaganj and Karimpur the party got more votes as compared to the 2016 Assembly elections. Still, we lost in all the three seats?" He added, "TMC has won the Kharagpur Sadar seat for the first time. These things raise doubts."
Separately, BJP's state general secretary Raju Banerjee argued that the saffron party merely lost one seat, Kharagpur Sadar. Banerjee told The Telegraph, "The other two Assembly seats were never ours," adding Karimpur was a TMC seat, while Kaliaganj was a Congress seat. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday termed BJP's defeat a "victory of development" and a "mandate against NRC [National Register of Citizens]."
Incidentally, during the Lok Sabha elections earlier this year, allegations of EVM tampering were rife. However, the BJP repeatedly dismissed them. In July, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad called EVMs "completely non-tamperable" in the Lok Sabha, quoting the Election Commission. Modi called such allegations an insult to voters, while BJP President Amit Shah had tweeted saying the allegations "tarnished the image of India's democracy."