Gujarat elections 2017: Losing Congress candidates plan anti-EVM campaign

Several Congress candidates, who have lost the Assembly elections, are contemplating to launch a statewide campaign against EVMs, claiming that the machines were tampered with during the just concluded Assembly polls resulting in a victory for the BJP. Many of them said that they were not technical experts, but “circumstantial evidence point that the ruling party had tampered with EVMs”.

Speaking with The Indian Express over phone, Congress leader Ashok Jirawala, who contested from Kamrej seat in Surat said, “You don’t require to be a big engineer to understand that EVMs were manipulated to get results in favour of the BJP. Everybody knows that BJP candidates could not hold rallies and public meetings in Surat city in the run-up to the polls. Over 80 per cent of the people in my constituency say they voted for the Congress. The BJP candidate (V D Zalavadiya) was sitting at his house. He can’t move out due to opposition of the people. And when the results are declared, he scored over 20,000 votes more than me. This is unbelievable”.

Jirawala said that he was consulting other unsuccessful Congress candidates for launching a peoples’ movement against the use of EVMs and demand a return of ballot system. “I am meeting Congress president Rahul Gandhi in Ahmedabad on Saturday and will brief him about all this,” he said.

Jitubhai Patel, who contested on a Congress ticket from Sabarmati seat in Ahmedabad, said, “It is astonishing that BJP candidates have won with a huge majority in areas where their workers and even candidates were not allowed to enter by the voters.”

Congress candidate from Karanj in Surat Bhavesh Bhumbhaliya claimed, “One of the EVMs opened for counting in my constituency showed the elections were held on December 14. But, the elections in my constituency in south Gujarat were held on December 9.”

Advocate and Congress leader Babubhai Mangukia, who lost the polls from Thakkarbapanagar in Ahmedabad, when asked if he would file a petition in court, however, said, “Nobody has, so far, approached me.”

State Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said that the issue of EVM tampering will be discussed in detail with Rahul on Saturday so that a nationwide agitation could be started against it.