Imagine an unconventional marathon race and some of the best runners running to win it. These athletes have been running these races over their lifetime & have also won many a time. They are well aware of the rules of sport, the logistics involved, the kind of track they would be running upon and probably the right way to win the race. This race is unconventional in the manner in which the winner would be decided. Instead of all four running together, each racer would be running separately and the winner would be the one who takes the least amount of time to cover the distance. There is another provision whereby two or more runners can run in pairs. Each can run a portion of the race himself and the remaining someone else can run for him without any sort of penalty. The award in such a case would be divided between the partners in the same proportion in which they each partner ran the race. The runners agree to the rules and a couple of them even decide to use the provision available and to run certain portions of the race for each instead of running the entire race themselves. This they believe would increase their chances of winning and of being crowned the ultimate Marathon champions.
The race begins and everyone uses all that they can to win. Everyone has run the race and no one complained about anything. The results are to be declared after a couple of days and in these two days also, no one complains of any anything being suspicious or biased or faulty. Couple of days later the result is declared and it is found out that one particular runner, who ran the entire race by himself, has managed to defeat the rest, including those who ran in pairs, by an unimaginable margin.
Following the shameful defeat, one of the contestants starts shouting foul and blames logistics for one of the worst defats of her career. The other losers join her in her foul cry and accept defeat only after much resistance.
This is what has happened in our country after the 5 state elections which were dominated by the Modi led BJP and which also virtually marked the end of Mayawati’s political career. Post counting of votes casted on EVMs and declaration of results, Mayawati alleged tampering of EVMs behind the landslide victory of BJP in the state.
The elections could be equated with the marathon race, the politicians with runners and coalition as the pair of runners running parts of race for each other. What we need to look into is the validity of the allegation made by Ms. Mayawati and supported by the other losing parties. The validity could be checked by looking into certain points made in her allegation speech and more importantly by understanding the role of timing of the allegation.
Though, Mayawati did not directly cite the Election Commission in her speech as being involved in the alleged murder of democracy but her untagged allegations implicitly raise a finger on the election commission. However, let us not get into what her speech could have implied and let us try and validate or invalidate by what she explicitly said at the post result press conference.
The first point which out rightly invalidates the allegation is the timing of it. EVMs were alleged to have been tampered with only after it was clear who the winner was. The timing of the allegation not only invalidates the whole allegation but it also questions the sanctity of the one making these mistimed allegations. If the person making allegations was aware of tampering then why did she not make an issue of it either during the elections or before the results were declared? Was Mayawati actually hoping to benefit from the tampering? What if the results had declared her the winner? Would she have still alleged tampering?
The second point which further invalidates her stance is her call for re-elections and this time not by using the EVMs but by using the Ballot paper method. What we need to understand is that no means of elections is fool proof. EVMs and Ballot papers both can be hacked. However, hacking the former is a much difficult and technical process. Mayawati called for re-elections through ballot papers, a means which is all the more vulnerable to tampering. By stating that she wants re-elections through ballot paper, she did not express her desire to make the election process fool proof instead, she merely demanded a chance to probably decrease the loss margin.
In her statement during the press conference, she stated that tampering was for real and the evidence of it was that in a Muslim majority constituency, a Hindu candidate fielded by BJP had won the elections. This reasoning is as absurd as her entire claim. We are country of contrasts and such wonders are not new to us. Imagine, India being a Hindu majority country had, in 2004, voted a Roman Catholic woman to power, this woman choose a Sikh man to lead the country in her place and this Sikh man’s oath was administered by the President who was a Muslim. So to be amazed by a Hindu being elected in a Muslim majority constituency is a sign of immaturity and to allege tampering of EVMs only because of this one observation qualifies to be nothing but ridiculous.
The allegations made by Mayawati are also invalid because except in Uttar Pradesh an Uttrakhand, the BJP failed to emerge even as the single largest party, leave alone attaining majority. If a party could go to the lengths of tampering EVMs and rigging elections in two states where the incumbent government was of the opposition, then why wouldn’t they do it in other states where the BJP was itself in power and where they are presently fighting hard to form a coalition government?
In my opinion, the allegations made by Mayawati, now being endorsed by others, are completely invalid and hold no ground. Such allegations could be a major hurdle in the future and development of the state. These allegations have power enough to shake peace and prosperity in a state by unnecessarily shaking people’s faith in government and institutions which establish government and make democracy possible.
Every year there is some or the other election in our country and every year and in each election something unexpected happens. But even this unexpected is somewhat expected. Our country is one proud democracy in the world and the pride has its roots in the history of fair elections and fair declaration of results. Neither do i say that the elections are fool proof or EVMs are unhackable or that the election commission is entirely free of corruption. Nor do I want a blanket cover to shield the commission of all criticisms or allegations. All I want is for the allegations to be rooted in logic and should not be an outcome of a shameful defeat. Those making such dangerous allegations should bear the burden of proving these else they must be penalised for making these allegations.