In a controversial statement, Thol Thirumavalavan, the leader of Vidhuthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) and Member of Parliament representing Chidambaram in the Lok Sabha, claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s electoral success was not a reflection of the people’s choice but rather attributed to the usage of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).
Thol Thirumavalavan, leader of VCK and Member of Parliament, accused the BJP of potential EVM manipulation, particularly in northern states. Citing Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s claim of winning 400 seats in a booth level committee meeting, Thirumavalavan asserted that the BJP’s confidence stems from their perceived control over EVMs. He controversially stated that Prime Minister Modi was not elected by the people but by EVMs, emphasizing the alleged programmability of EVMs both before and after voting.
Thirumavalavan acknowledged the strength of EVMs but argued that they equally possess weaknesses, particularly in ensuring confidentiality and transparency, which are pivotal for electoral democracy. He pointed out that even technologically advanced nations like Germany and the Netherlands have reverted to using ballot papers due to concerns about EVM manipulation.
The VCK leader highlighted global trends, noting that out of over 120 countries conducting democratic elections, only 25 use EVMs. Among them, only four countries, including India, exclusively rely on 100 percent EVMs for polls. Thirumavalavan questioned why countries considered technologically strong, such as the USA, Canada, and the UK, refrain from using EVMs.
K Balakrishnan, the state secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPM], questioned the Central government’s selective use of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines, advocating for their inclusion in all EVMs. Leaders from the Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Congress also expressed their reservations against the usage of EVMs during the protest.
The demonstration reflected growing skepticism about the transparency and security of EVMs, prompting a renewed call for a reevaluation of the electoral system in India.
In the run-up to the upcoming elections, several political parties, notably TMC, AAP, SP, Congress, Left, and DMK, have reignited their criticism of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), despite past failed attempts to prove their vulnerabilities in the Supreme Court. Accusations of manipulation have been dismissed by the Election Commission (EC), which even offered a cash award for anyone proving EVM hacking.
The parties, facing rejection by voters, are accused of deflecting blame for their electoral failures. Despite explanations that EVMs are standalone machines without networking capabilities and the impossibility of altering sealed data, leaders like Arvind Kejriwal and Thol Thirumavalavan continue to mislead the public.
Journalists and observers have condemned such baseless accusations, pointing out that parties like DMK, AAP, and Congress celebrate victories without acknowledging potential manipulation. Local elections, according to critics, do not provide the context for such alleged interference.
VCK, seemingly sensing challenges in the political landscape, has been particularly vocal in making unfounded claims. Critics argue that such cries are attempts to garner attention and divert focus from the substantive issues facing the nation.
Contrary to the allegations, India’s economic and political robustness on the global stage has been acknowledged. While many countries grapple with economic challenges, India has emerged as a key player, attaining self-sufficiency and advancing initiatives like “Make in India” and “Atmanirbhar Bharat.”
Observers suggest that unwarranted allegations against constitutional machinery could prompt action from the Election Commission or even the Supreme Court suo moto, signaling a need to uphold the integrity of the electoral process. As the elections draw nearer, the focus remains on fair and transparent proceedings, urging political leaders to refrain from baseless accusations and engage in constructive dialogue.
The remarks by Thol Thirumavalavan come against the backdrop of broader discussions on electoral reforms and the need for transparency in the democratic process. It remains to be seen how this statement resonates within political circles and among the public, as it touches upon a sensitive aspect of India’s democratic practices.