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Anything that is unexpected is the X-factor.

Arguably, the electronic voting machines – at least in par –constitute the enigmatic 'X factor' in Indian elections.

Make your own assessment: until 1999 my own projections for successive Lok Sabha elections in 1996, 1998 and 1999 were spot on. (See the Table below) I was a pollster to the India’s leading English daily, the Times of India. That was when paper ballots were used in elections.

In 2004 and 2009 parliamentary elections, electronic voting machines were used throughout the country. All the Indian pollsters (including this blogger) have failed to read the voter mood correctly in the 2004 and 2009 Lok Sabha elections.

It is purely a coincidence that the only two parliamentary elections in India's parliamentary history, where the pollsters in general have gone horribly wrong, were totally 'electronic' elections in which electronic voting machines (EVMs) were used all over the country?

As an election analyst, people of my tribe have much at stake when our predictions go haywire. If the voting system is faulty or is manipulated without anyone’s knowledge, what is the point in making election projections based on voter surveys?

This blog, therefore, seeks to expose the vulnerabilities of the voting system and how it is threatening not just my profession, but the integrity of India’s electoral democracy.


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