Dhaka, Bangladesh
Some climbdown

What others say

Some climbdown

It was not just the mirch masala of the Modi- Mamata spat that reduced the importance of the Opposition protest at the Election Commission on Monday: the otherwise impressive array of leaders of over a score of parties diluted their cause by abandoning the demand for a return to the ballot system, to a mere VVPAT check of 50 per cent of votes recorded on the electronic voting machines. Of purely academic value was the claim that the dilution was only temporary since polls were in the offing, and the ultimate goal was a return to the old system ~ a demand categorically rejected by Nirvachan Sadan. The most viciously contested Lok Sabha election would have been concluded by the time the 2019 results are declared ~ and political thinking is not known for longevity. It would be difficult to explain the new faith in the VVPAT devices, they too are electronic and if the EVMs can be hacked or rigged so too can their “authenticators”. The gathering of a galaxy of Opposition leaders attracted a considerable number of reporters and independent observers but the opportunity was not utilised to explain the allegation that regardless of which button on the EVM was pressed the vote was recorded as being in favour of the ‘lotus’. Earlier the allegation was that the mischief lay in the totalling system: though that did not favour the lotus in Rajasthan. Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana. And the demand for upgraded security, surveillance and communication at places where the EVMs are stored until counting day would hold equally valid for ballot boxes. Have we forgotten the tamasha of yesteryear when party activists camped for days to maintain a vigil? Still, this is election season, when politicians across the board are not held accountable when letting their imagination run wild. It was a well-drafted memorandum of complaints the Opposition leaders presented to the Commission, though as the old saying goes, “sticks and stones may break my bones but the words don’t hurt me….” Not for a moment is this to certify the use of EVMs, and another old saying cannot be ignored, “there’s no smoke without fire”. — The Statesman

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