AAP MLA Saurabh Bharadwaj on Tuesday at a Special session of the Delhi Assembly demonstrated how Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) can be manipulated. He showed how simple it was for an engineering graduate like himself to rig a voting machine, and challenged scientists to prove him wrong. AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal had blamed the party’s loss in the recent Punjab Assembly elections to the rigging of voting machines.
Bhardwaj, who told the Assembly that he had a BTech degree in computer science and that he had worked on microprocessors and micro-controllers for years as an occupation, said, “An ordinary engineering graduate like me can manipulate an EVM by working on it for just 10 to 15 days.”
The special session of the Delhi Assembly began with high drama, and within 15 minutes the leader of opposition Vijender Gupta was marshalled out after he was given three warnings by Assembly speaker Ram Niwas Goel. After that, all eyes were on Bhardwaj who, during a 40-minute demonstration, showed using a prototype of an EVM, how the voting machines could easily be rigged.
The Election Commission had repeatedly been saying that EVMs are tamper-proof and had challenged parties making allegations to prove how they can be rigged. Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati had also raised doubts over BJP’s resounding victory in Uttar Pradesh, saying it was gained by tampering with EVMs. She had pointed to the BJP’s vote share in Muslim majority areas to substantiate her argument that that it would not have been possible for the saffron party to get that many votes in those areas, if not for EVM fraud.
Kejriwal’s and Mayawati’s claims had been dismissed by the Election Commission but on Tuesday, Bharadwaj managed to sow doubts in the minds of the public with his demonstration.
Here’s how he did the demo.
First, Bharadwaj followed the normal procedure
- He cast two votes each for five parties listed on the EVM, namely AAP, BSP, BJP, Congress and Samajwadi Party.
- After that he pressed a button on the accompanying machine to get the final result
- Results appeared as they were cast. A total of ten votes were cast, 2 for each party, and they appeared correctly.
Bhardwaj then demonstrated how results changed after entering a secret code
- He pressed the buttons to cast votes for different parties
- He cast 10 votes for AAP, 3 for BJP, 2 for Congress, 2 SP and 2 for BSP
- Bharadwaj pressed the button to get the results
- And lo! The final tally showed that AAP, Congress, SP, and BSP had got 2 votes each, whereas the BJP got 11 votes
The MLA said this was possible by entering a secret code that is assigned to every constituency. He claimed that before voting begins, election officials demonstrate that everything is done fairly but after 10 am on voting day, a “manipulator” activates a secret code, which ensures that all votes cast thereafter would go to a particular candidate.
“There are secret codes that can be used to decide on the day of voting which candidate will win. Give us access to the EVMs that will be used in the Gujarat election for three hours, I challenge that the BJP will not even win a single seat,” Bharadwaj said, while demonstrating how the EVM could be tampered with.
The AAP Twitter handle also put out a tweet explaining how the votes were cast in the demo, and how the outcome was different.