The Electronic Voting Machines used during DUSU2018 elections were not issued by the Election Commission of India, and this revelation casts a shadow on the credibility and fairness of the election and its outcome.
The Vote Counting for the Delhi University Students’ Union Elections 2018 was held on Wednesday, 13 September, and true to its legacy was riddled with controversy and skepticism owing to claims alleging that the elections were rigged after the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) stopped due to technical glitches. This was catalyzed by reports that the EVMs in question weren’t ECI-EVMS (Election Commission of India EVMs).
Amid rising confusion and mistrust, the office of the Chief Electoral Officer in Delhi issued a press release on Thursday, 14 September 2018, the contents of which clarified that the EVMs used in Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) election have not been issued by the Election Commission and seem to have been procured privately. This sparked debate among students and authorities regarding the credibility of EVMs and DUSU results.
Meanwhile, sources from theUniversity of Delhi said that the EVMs used during the student union polls were procured from the Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) and were of a different module than those available with the Election Commission.
In a series of insinuating tweets by Arvind Kejriwal, the Chief Minister of Delhi claims that it’s impossible to manufacture or procure EVMs privately in India, and ownership of the same is a criminal offence. These claims remain unacknowledged by the office of the Electoral Commission of India.
The usage of EVMs in India has been challenged time and again with respect to credibility, reliability, and robustness. Since 2001, the issue of possible tampering of EVMs has been raised before various High Courts. ECI-EVMs are currently manufactured by only two Public Sector Undertakings (PSU) in India — Electronics Corp of India Ltd (ECIL), Hyderabad, and Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL), Bengaluru. Private sale and manufacture of only ECI-EVMs are prohibited, while the law remains ambiguous about private sale, manufacture and ownership of all (those excluding ECI-EVMs) EVMs.
Sunny Chhillar, the former Presidential candidate from National Students’ Union of India added to the discourse by questioning the authenticity and source of the EVMs used, “Humein Jawab Chahiye ki Election Commission ke paas khud ki machines nahi thi kya? Humei ye bhi nahi batare ki EVMs kis firm ya organisation se li gyi. (We want to know, did the Election Commission not have their own EVMs? They won’t even inform us of the source of these privately acquired EVMs)”
Feature Image Credits: Office of Chief Electoral Officer, Delhi