With everything going digital, counting of votes has become much easier as EVMs are being used. Earlier, votes polled in a constituency used to be counted and the party which secured majority used to be declared every hour. At the end of the day, all the votes polled used to be added and final voting percentage declared.
But, with the EVMs replacing the ballot paper, officials declared the voting percentage soon as polling was ended. The immediate next day different figures were declared as the final voting percentage. Surprisingly, both the figures had huge difference, raising doubts about tampering of EVMs and likely rigging.
Leaving aside the Assembly polls held in Telangana three months ago and that in Andhra Pradesh four days ago, let us consider the votes polled for Secunderabad and Malkajgiri Parliamentary constituencies. Just before the polling was about to conclude at 4.30 pm last Thursday, the EC declared that 39 per cent of votes have been polled.
However, the immediate next day, the figure jumped to 46 per cent and the polling officials claimed that they have ended polling by 5 pm. The voters are not able to understand how could 7 per cent of votes could get polled in just half-an-hour. Meanwhile, the polling stations in three other Parliamentary constituencies in the city wore a deserted look but the rise in the voting percentage is leading to several suspicions.
Speaking on the issue, BJP candidate Kishan Reddy said that he was collecting data of the votes polled in every booth. This aberration is not confined to just one constituency in Hyderabad but occurred in several areas in Telangana state.
In Nalgonda LS constituency, there are 15.85 lakh voters and by Thursday evening, the officials declared 66.11 per cent voting but the final voting percentage list release the next day showed the figure at 74.11 per cent. This means after 5 pm, as many as 1.26 lakh voters exercised their franchise.
In Mahabubnagar LS constituency, there are 14.23 lakh votes. By Evening, the voting percentage was declared at 59.90 per cent but the final figure stood at 68.79 per cent. This again means that nearly 1.26 lakh voters cast their vote after the scheduled time and for this reason, the voting percentage rose by 8.89 per cent.
On one hand, there are reports that the polling stations were found empty. But, it is being said that lakhs of vote were polled in the last minute. These controversial reports are raising many eyebrows among the electorate and the officials too.
Does that indicate that Telangana Assembly polls results were manipulated to suit the party in power, in collusion with the Election Commission? Whatever the outcome, the Election Commission's role in allowing manipulation is being exposed on a massive scale across the country. Well, this definitely leaves us thinking whether elections can be held fairly in the world's largest Democracy.