The Rajya Sabha was briefly adjourned on Wednesday following protests from opposition parties, including the Congress, Samajwadi Party and the BSP, regarding alleged tampering of electronic voting machines to favour the BJP. Opposition members stormed the well of the House, calling the government a “cheat” and raising slogans. The BJP-led government, which has repeatedly denied allegations, said the issue should be taken up with the Election Commission instead of in Parliament.
Deputy Chairman P J Kurien clarified that according to the EC, EVM tampering is not possible. “I have to inform you that this is an issue to be taken up with Election Commission not with Chair,” he said, before adjourning proceedings.
The Congress and SP today issued at least four notices under Rule 267, which seeks suspension of business to take up the issue. However, Kurien denied admission of each, saying “there are other ways.”
BSP supremo Mayawati called the BJP a beiman (cheat), adding that there were mass irregularities in the recent Uttar Pradesh polls, reported PTI. Saying the alleged tampering a “murder of democracy”, she called for the use of ballot papers for future elections. Her demand was echoed by other members including SP’s Ramgopal Yadav and Congress’ Digvijaya Singh. Singh referred to the recent controversy in Madhya Pradesh, where the machines showed that votes favoured BJP irrespective of the input given.
Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad accused the ruling party of selective cheating so as to not get caught; he alleged that EVMs were manipulated in Uttar Pradesh during the 2017 election season.
Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi countered most opposition claims, by referring to recent elections such as those in Bihar, Punjab and Delhi where the BJP lost. His statement, “If victory has a glamour, defeat should have grace,” fueled the opposition’s protest. Opposition leaders raised slogans such as, “EVM ki ye sarkar nahi chalegi, nahi chalegi.”
(With inputs from agencies)