WHILE LABELLING the ensuing Lok Sabha polls as the “most important election in the history of modern India”, Sam Pitroda, a close confidante of Congress’ first family and the head of the Indian Overseas Congress, again raised the issue of tampering of electronic voting machines (EVMs) on Friday.
Pitroda, who had headed six technology missions during his tenure as advisor to former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, said, “No one in the world used the electronic voting on the scale that we do. There is a fear of electronic voting. And when someone in the BJP says that they will win for the next 50 years, I’m worried.”
Backing allegations of tinkering of the EVMs, Pitroda added, “I think there is something there. I wish I could tell you how it was being done.”
He was addressing a gathering organised by the All India Professionals’ Congress (AIPC) in south Mumbai.
Taking on the Narendra Modi government, Pitroda said that the “idea of India was at stake” this election. “Diversity that one sees in India must be celebrated. When you attack this very diversity, you’re attacking the soul of India. This is not done. We’ve a serious situation.”
In a veiled dig at the PM, he said, “A country’s Prime Minister does not have to be someone who goes on national television and lies. He has to be compassionate, loving and a caring human being. He needs to be of good character.”
Drawing similarities between Modi and President Donald Trump, Pitroda, who resides in the United States, said: “I admire their ability to be comfortable after lying.”
Pitroda also lashed out at the media. “The Indian media has been bought over. I know I’ll be targetted for this tomorrow. Even Congress leaders will say there was no need to say it. But it bothers me. So, I say it openly and bluntly.”
While alleging that “lies was being amplified on social media”, Pitroda said that the “institutions and the bureaucracy have been captured”. “There is fear. Everybody’s afraid.”
Contending that Congress president Rahul Gandhi had been a target of a structured attack (in the media) over the past decade, he said, “I feel that people do not really know Rahul.”
On the Congress’ failure to finalise pre-poll alliances with the SP and the BSP in Uttar Pradesh, and the AAP in Delhi, the Congress leader blamed the regional outfits. “We wanted to have the alliances. We were in talks. But the other side was very unreasonable. Negotiations involve give and take. These don’t work when there is taking alone.”
Claiming that a lot of thought had gone into Congress’ election manifesto, Pitroda said: “When we say we’ll create 100 million jobs, I can guarantee you that. We know how to create jobs.”