The Punjab poll drubbing still a festering wound for the AAP, the party on Sunday kept up its attack on what it called ‘faulty’ electronic voting machines (EVMs) but refrained from making tall claims of a sure-shot victory. By noon on polling day, AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal and party leaders had raised several complaints not just against “malfunctioning EVMs” but also alleged discrepancies in voter lists. By late afternoon, the AAP claimed it had received around 250 complaints from polling booths and alleged that the State Election Commission was ignoring their complaints.
“Reports from all over Delhi of EVM malfunction, people with voter slips not allowed to vote. What is SEC doing?” Kejriwal tweeted. He also also cited the French presidential elections that were also held on Sunday, using paper ballot, to drive home his argument about the unreliability of EVMs.
Senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh told The Indian Express, “If former Congress leader Arvinder Singh Lovely had to return without voting, you can imagine what must have happened to the other voters. Our demands for fair elections with VVPAT-enabled EVMs fell on deaf ears. There were complaints from across the city that EVMs were faulty.” Lovely, however, told The Indian Express that he had “voted in East Azad Nagar at 11 am”.
‘Complaints fell on deaf ears’
Political rivals dubbed the AAP’s complaints an “excuse” ahead of “another rout”. But the party refused to back down, with Singh saying, “We feel voters have backed us and our feedback from the ground is that a large number of the AAP’s vote base had come out to vote. But that the EVMs were faulty is an undeniable truth.”
AAP Delhi unit convenor Dilip Pandey, who was in touch with the SEC all day, alleged that the party received “no response” from the poll panel. “There were outright violations of model code of conduct by BJP. Their volunteers were seen distributing pamphlets outside polling booths, but EC just refused to take note,” Pandey alleged. “Several voters who are vocal AAP supporters found their names missing from electoral rolls.”
AAP cabinet minister Gopal Rai tweeted: “Tough competition between EVM+BJP+Congress and AAP, every vote counts, I have already voted, you too please vote.” Senior leader Kumar Vishwas tweeted, “If you don’t fight for what you want, don’t cry for what you lost.”
The party also rubbished unfavourable exit polls, with Pandey saying, “First the EVMs turn out to be faulty and then the paid media announces victory for the BJP through exit polls. This is just to create an atmosphere building up to the results and to influence public opinion. Everyone can see through this. Our battle against faulty EVMs will continue.”