Who says Indian EVMs are failsafe? (PART 2) EVMs ‘manipulated’ in Orissa polls!


In April-May elections to India’s lower house of parliament last year, Orissa went to polls on April 16 and 20.

Voting was delayed in a number of polling stations across the state due to faulty EVMs raising suspicions among voters and rival political parties. Supporters of the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alleged that the EVMs did not record votes in favour of their candidates and irrespective of whichever candidate button they pressed, the votes were being recorded in favour of Biju Janata Dal (BJD) candidate only. Suspecting foul play, voters became so agitated that they clashed with polling officials at some places.

A report published on the website Orissa Matters captures the situation. Opposition parties including the Congress and the BJP and many common voters in Orissa felt that the electronic voting machines have been tampered with in the state.

Second and final phase of voting in Orissa is witnessing voters’ wrath against polling officers in most of the booths as till now, i.e. noon, the Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) are not working. In the first phase of election on April 16, EVM problems had affected voting in many booths. Voters had taken that to be technical defects. Many voters had gone back from the booths and the day’s last information from the Chief Election Officer had put the polling percentage at 52.6%. But on April 17, the percentage was finally placed at 65.9%. This enhancement was attributed to casting of votes beyond the voting time as that was allowed to compensate time lost due to defect in EVMs. This high rise in voting numbers was looked at askance in certain quarters, even though general public had accepted it as normal.

…….many people suspect that the EVMs are tampered with. The EVMs… carry certificate of faultlessness on the basis of meticulous testing. They should not have shown such defects in normal condition; but they may develop defect only if tampered with, suggest techno-academics that we contacted.

No wonder, voters in a Cuttack booth have manhandled the polling staff suspecting tampering of the EVMs. Apolitical intellectuals feel that there should be credible inquiry over non-functioning of the EVMs in such massive scale.”


 Congress party’s Allegations

 For a change, in Orissa, it was the turn of the Congress party to make serious allegations against the manipulation of EVMs by the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD).  

 After his party’s disastrous performance in the state of Orissa in 2009 polls – in both the assembly and parliament elections held simultaneously in the state –   Ghulam Nabi Azad, present Union Health minister and Congress party’s general secretary in charge of Orissa in a press conference on June 18, 2009 alleged, “EVMs were manipulated during the poll which resulted in the defeat of many Congress candidates.” (IANS) 



 The Congress party had its own reasons to be suspicious. It performed disastrously in Orissa polls. A nationally resurgent Congress party had suffered a loss of eight percentage points in votes in Orissa and registered the lowest ever vote share of 32.8 per cent in Lok Sabha polls.

Congress files Election petition

The Congress party leaders were so enraged with the election outcome that some of its state leaders filed an election petition in the Orissa High Court making the startling allegations:

 “In express violation…, the agency in charge of conducting the state election for reasons best known to them procured 80,000 EVMs through Idcol Software Limited, which is a Government of Orissa undertaking and a group of hand picked, tainted officers were kept in its controlling and managing positions at the behest of Sri Pyarimohan Mohapatra during the relevant period on order to complete the process for EVM procurement. The trustworthiness of these EVMs were never tested nor demonstrated.”

The Congress party’s state leaders had hinted that the state-government owned EVMs were used to manipulate polls in Orissa. Not just that, the petition further alleged that the EVMs allotted to several polling stations were unauthorisedly changed and new EVMs were used in their place. The petition had listed details of all polling stations where such unannounced changes were made.

The EVM problems and allegations of EVM tampering in Orissa are indeed serious. There has not been any enquiry of any kind by the Election Commission of India. For the Election Commission of India, which has boundless faith in EVMs, such colossal failures and widespread complaints don’t seem to matter at all.

If you have any suggestions/ comments, you can write to me at nrao@indiaEVM.com

This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 12th, 2010 at 5:13 AM and is filed under EVM PROBLEMS. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Responses to “Who says Indian EVMs are failsafe? (PART 2) EVMs ‘manipulated’ in Orissa polls!”

  1. kalyan Says:

    From ECI website it appears only BEL and ECIL are authorised. IDCOL Software Limited. Is this a company authorised by ECI to make EVMs?

  2. Narasimha Rao Says:

    Only BEL and ECIL are suppliers of EVMs. IDCOL Software Limited is a Orissa state government undertaking that – according to the Congress party’s election petition in Orissa High Court – has purchased EVMs from these EVM manufacturers. The petition alleges that these state government owned machines were allowed to be used in Lok Sabha and assembly polls in orissa to ‘manipulate’ election results. As I mentioned in another blog, state governments also buy EVMs for use in local body polls. The ECI officially allowed the states to use their own EVMs in some states. Orissa, it is alleged, is one such case. Why was this exception made in case of Orissa is a curious question.