A day after a self-proclaimed cyber expert, reportedly seeking asylum in the United States, addressed a group of journalists in London via Skype, and made unsubstantiated claims of large-scale EVM tampering in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and linked late BJP leader Gopinath Munde’s road accident death to his knowledge of rigged voting machines, the BJP Tuesday labelled the event as a “Congress-sponsored conspiracy” to defame India’s democracy and the mandate of the last general election which the BJP won with a thumping majority.
Questioning the presence of senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal at the event, senior BJP leader and Union law and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad alleged that Mr Sibal was there to “monitor” the event on the Congress’ behalf as the Opposition party had already seeking an “alibi” for its certain loss in the coming Lok Sabha polls. Mr Prasad also claimed that Ashis Ray, the head of the Indian Journalists’ Association, which had organised the event, was a “committed Congressm-an” and had been singing paeans in support of Congress president Rahul Gandhi. Dismissing Mr Sibal’s claim he was present in his personal capacity, Mr Prasad said he was intelligent enough to know the implications of his presence.
The EC, meanwhile which termed the London event as a “motivated slugfest” and firmly stood by the “empirical facts about the foolproof nat-ure” of the EVMs, asked the Delhi police to lodge an FIR against the self-proclaimed cyber expert, Syed Shuja. It said Mr Shuja had violated Section 505(1) IPC over spreading rumours that creates panic.
Noting that EVMs were part of the election system after 1998, Mr Prasad wondered why the Opposition parties did not oppose it when the Congress won the 2004 and 2009 Lok Sabha polls or when the BSP supremo became UP’s chief minister in 2007, SP’s Akhilesh Yadav succeeded Ms May-awati or when Trinamul chief Mamata Banerjee won the last two Assembly polls in West Bengal. Ms Banerjee had tweeted Monday: “Our great democracy must be protected. Every vote of yours is precious. All Oppn parties discussed the #EVM issue after the #UnitedIndiaAtBrigade rally. We are working closely together and decided on Jan 19 itself to consistently take up the matter with EC… Yes, every vote counts.”
“When they (Opposition parties) win, the EVMs are good… when the BJP wins, the EVMs become suspect. What kind of logic is this?” the Union minister asked, saying there can’t be a more “shameful” argument which is designed to compromise the Indian electoral process.
The London event was designed to compromise the sanctity of India’s electoral process. Mr Prasad also reminded the Congress that it was the Congress-led UPA government which was in power till the people voted it out in 2014, and cited local bodies polls in West Bengal, when the ruling TMC did not use EVMs, and there were widespread allegations of rigging. Mr Prasad alleged that when it comes to weakning institutions, the Congress is the “biggest culprit” as it questions the EC and even the Supreme Court, which had dismissed a petition seeking the return of ballot papers.