Buoyed by a thumping victory in the Bawana bypoll, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today dared the BJP to use VVPAT, a paper trail audit which lets voters check if the vote has gone to the candidate they chose, in every election.
Addressing AAP workers at his residence, Kejriwal raked up the issue of alleged manipulation of electronic voting machines to needle the BJP, saying that “EVM mischief” was behind the saffron party’s recent upsurge.
Kejriwal said, by reposing faith on the AAP, voters of Bawana have sent out the message that BJP’s politics of “breaking away MLAs from other parties using the lure of money” has come a cropper in Delhi.
“They tried to buy many of our MLAs, contacted many, but only one turned out to be a traitor. One thing is clear, we are of a different mettle. And if any one sells himself, then the people of Delhi will leave him in a position where he will not be able to show his face in public anymore,” the AAP chief said.
Defamation case: Delhi High Court raps CM Arvind Kejriwal for questioning decision of single judge
Kejriwal’s outburst comes after a prolonged period of uncharacteristic silence, following AAP’s string of poll debacles which included the drubbings in Punjab, Goa, a Delhi bye-election and the municipal polls here.
“Try and conduct all polls using VVPAT-equipped EVMs if you (the BJP) have the guts. Then tally the votes polled with the paper trail at 5 or 15 per cent of the polling booths. You do mischief in EVMs then claim victory,” he said.
The VVPAT machine dispenses a slip with the symbol of the party a person has voted for. The slip drops in a box, but the voter cannot take it home.
The voters, however, can see the voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) slip for seven seconds.
VVPAT machines were used in the Bawana bypoll and also in the Rajouri Garden bypoll last May, when the BJP had emerged victorious.
The chief minister also warned the BJP-led Centre not to “disrupt” his government’s work in the national capital by “throwing spanners”, a complaint which the AAP chief has been making repeatedly since storming to power in 2015.
BJP promsies introspection for ’embarrassing loss’
Jolted by defeat in the Bawana Assembly bypoll by a margin of over 24,000 votes, the BJP today said it will review the reasons behind its embarrassing loss.
Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari took responsibility of the defeat of party candidate Ved Prakash, stating that the causes of his defeat will be reviewed.
“As the president of Delhi BJP, I accept the mandate and take responsibility for it,” Tiwari told reporters here, adding that the result was against the expectations of the party.
“We will review the result (of Bawana bypoll) to find out the reasons of our defeat,” he said.
The Aam Aadmi Party retained the city’s Bawana Assembly constituency today with a comfortable majority, leaping way ahead of the Congress and the BJP, as it staged a remarkable comeback from back-to-back electoral defeats in the recent past.
BJP leaders blamed Prakash’s “negative image” in Bawana as a “major reason” behind the party’s loss in the bypoll.
“He was perceived as a deserter by locals after quitting the AAP. People were not happy with him as he had not made a mark even during his three years as the Bawana MLA,” said a senior Delhi BJP leader.
The BJP’s defeat is all the more “glaring” in the backdrop of “spectacular” success of the party in the MCD polls held in April and the Rajouri Garden Assembly bypoll before that, he said.
A detailed review report on the Bawana bypoll will be submitted to BJP national president Amit Shah, party sources added.
With the Bawana bypoll results today dashing Congress’ hope of opening its account in the Delhi Assembly, the party tried to put up a brave face saying its candidates registered an increase in vote percentage.
Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken congratulated party workers for increase in the vote share of Surender Kumar from “7.8 per cent in 2015 to 25 per cent”.
Maken also congratulated AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal for the victory of party’s candidate Ram Chander in the bypoll.
“Congrats @ArvindKejriwal for #Bawana! Thanks to @INCIndia workers for working hard-enabling congress to jump from 7.8% in 2015 to 25% votes,” Maken tweeted.
The by-election was necessitated as AAP’s sitting MLA Ved Parkash had quit the party. He joined the BJP which made him the candidate this time.
(With PTI inputs)