Bhupesh Baghel's EVM Concerns Rejected by Chief Electoral Officer

Bhupesh Baghel’s EVM Concerns Rejected by Chief Electoral Officer

Former Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel recently raised concerns about irregularities with Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in his constituency, Rajnandgaon. Using social media, he claimed that the numbers on many EVMs had changed according to Form 17C, a form used after voting to document details of the election process.

Baghel’s concerns were shared by senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, who posted about it on social media, urging the Election Commission to take swift action. Baghel’s post suggested that the changes in EVM numbers could affect thousands of votes and that similar issues were reported in other Lok Sabha constituencies.

However, the Chief Electoral Officer of Chhattisgarh responded promptly, dismissing these allegations. He stated that the claims were “not based on facts.” According to him, the EVMs used during the polls matched exactly with the list of machines shared by the Returning Officer after a process called randomization, which ensures fairness by randomly assigning machines to different constituencies.

In a post on social media, the Chief Electoral Officer emphasized that there was no discrepancy in the EVM numbers as claimed by Baghel. The machines used in the elections were the same as those listed and shared with the contesting candidates.

This isn’t the first time the Opposition has raised concerns about EVMs. Over the years, complaints about EVM security and integrity have been a recurring issue, especially when the Opposition parties face defeats. The BJP has often countered these complaints, arguing that the Opposition only questions EVMs when they lose elections but not when they win.

Despite these allegations, EVMs have received strong support from the Supreme Court, which has consistently rejected calls to return to paper ballots. The court has affirmed the security and reliability of EVMs, reinforcing their use in the electoral process.

In another incident related to EVMs, Opposition leader Supriya Sule recently alleged that CCTV cameras at an EVM storage room in Maharashtra were switched off for about 45 minutes. The Returning Officer clarified that only the display was temporarily closed, without giving further reasons.

The ongoing debate around EVMs highlights the tension and mistrust in the electoral process. However, the consistent support from the judiciary and election officials underscores the confidence in the current system’s ability to conduct free and fair elections.

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