Maharashtra Civic Polls: Shocking EVM Counting Discrepancies

Friday, March 03, 2017

A series of “coincidences” cast a huge cloud of doubt on the freeness of the election process during the recent Maharashtra Civic Poll. 

It was much publicized that CM Devendra Fadnavis had to hastily skip his Pune rally as being greeted by empty chairs. Pune was never a stronghold of the BJP. In fact, BJP was reported to virtually struggle to get crowds for their rallies in Pune. And yet to the surprise of all including voters, BJP emerged the largest single party in Pune. BJP MP Sanjay Kakde, who had played a crucial role in getting criminals into the BJP fold, had accurately predicted the results for Pune. He had vowed to give up politics if his prediction proved wrong. Opposition parties now cite this claim as proof that the ruling party had manipulated the poll results.

It is very difficult at the civic poll level to hit a bullseye in poll prediction for a number of reasons. CVoter last year turned out an excellent performance hitting the bullseye for the Bangalore Municipal Corporation (BMC) polls in respective to vote share but did not show similar accuracy with seat shares since at the civic poll level, seats are won and lost by margins as low as single digits! But in the recent Maharashtra Civic Polls, a well known polling agency missed their vote share prediction by a mile [those predicted being much higher than their touted Margin of Error (MoE)] but hit a bullseye with their seat predictions!!

And these are citing just two coincidences. And there are several more horrifying such coincidences and controversies which this QUINT article below talks about. The question is what if these controversies get repeated in the March 11th results of the 5 State Assemblies???

On the evening of 23 February, an unexpected development shocked Maharashtra as counting for local body polls in the state was ending. Violence erupted in Panchavati in the heart of Nashik city following complaints of tampering of EVMs (electronic voting machines).

The city BJP chief’s son was declared the winner from the ward, but the Shiv Sena claimed that the total of the votes received by each candidate exceeded the total number of votes cast.

This led to clashes between Shiv Sena and BJP workers in the streets. Soon, mobs began vandalising and burning vehicles. Police had to resort to lathi-charge and firing in the air to disperse the crowd of 800 people. Nine policemen, as well as some local residents, were injured in the rampage.  

A similar charge of EVM fraud swirled in Pune, only the reaction was thankfully non-violent. In Yerawada ward, 15 candidates from different political parties registered a complaint against the Returning Officer (RO), alleging “misappropriation” of EVMs during the counting of votes.

They claimed that a total of 33,289 votes were cast, but 43,324 votes were counted. They demanded a re-poll using ballot paper. A police complaint has been registered against the RO.

As the State Election Commission, which conducts local polls, turned down the demand for re-polling, a united opposition first held a protest meeting. As more cases emerged, they took out a mock funeral procession of replicas of EVMs on Tuesday, which were then symbolically cremated at the Vaikunth crematorium.

In Mumbai, independent candidate Shrikant Shirsat got zero votes at the booth near his residence in Saki Naka in the western suburbs.

Similar complaints are being reported from various parts of the state. Efforts are being made to collate data. A body called the Lokshahi Bachao Andolan has been formed in Nashik to collect data related to alleged tampering of EVMs.

In Nagpur, the NCP has threatened that it won’t let the mayor take oath unless an inquiry is conducted into the “EVM scam”. In nearby Amravati, an all-party bandh was called on Monday over the use of EVMs. It received a good response, with market places remaining closed.

Read the full story: Click HERE

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