'Transparency in counting of votes leads to rivalry'

'Transparency in counting of votes leads to rivalry'

Rural residents reveal the other side of using of EVMs

Use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in Assembly polls have drawn appreciation from ‘educated class’ of the society but also has drawn flak from the voters in rural areas.

Political experts are of opinion that EVMs have solved many confusions as it is easy to count the votes and it also saves papers. But the fact that counting of votes is more transparent has proved disadvantageous, rue rural voters.

They opine that this ‘transparency’ will bring rivalry in villages. The reason: “The candidates would know how many votes he/she has received from the particular booth. This will fix their programmes and policies and attitude for our villages. If the winning candidates has received large number of votes from the booth we have voted, then there is no problem. But, if the winner has less number of votes from the booth, our village is sure to be completely neglected for the next five years,” residents say.

Speaking about the repercussions, Munivenkatappa, Gram Panchayat president of Palicherlu in Shidlaghatta says that, “We cast our vote to the candidate of our choice. But on the day of voting, the candidate and his or her agents keep an eye on the votes for each candidate from each village. Later, this leads to fights in the villages.”

Earlier, voting forms were distributed to the voters and after voting all the forms were collected together and were counted. So, there was no scope for finding out the ratio of voting for each candidate from particular village. But now, all the information can be had as the counting takes place boothvise. If candidate keeps a grudge on the villagers, it surely turns into groupism and then leads to rivalry,” he added.

Political tricks work in different ways at the national and state-level. But in rural areas, politics is considered a issue of prestige. “Party leaders, who come for campaigning make us promise that we are going to vote for the person only. Taking this into account, they calculate the votes for the candidate from each village. On the day of counting, they get the statistics of the votes at the booth level. The candidates compare this statistics with their calculation of votes and they can easily find out residents of which village have cast more as well as less votes. This leads to different developments in the village, they say.

This is the only problem we are facing from the EVM. If the Election Commission finds out a solution for this problem, it will really help people casting votes in the rural areas, said Munivenkatappa, speaking to Deccan Herald.

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