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Arvind Kejriwal questions Punjab election results, alleges tampering of EVMs

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Arvind Kejriwal questions Punjab election results, alleges tampering of EVMs

Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal today raised questions about the Electronic voting machines in the Punjab assembly polls, saying 20 per cent to 25 per cent of AAP votes were transferred to the Akali-BJP coalition which was in power in the state.

The number of votes polled by his party were far less in some areas than the number of volunteers the party, he said, adding the results fly in the face of predictions by several exit polls and political experts.

In his first interaction with the media after the results of the assembly elections were declared, Kejriwal said his party was expected to win the elections. "What then, went wrong? There was no word of Congress coming to power... yet they swept the elections... really don't know how that happened," he said.

The Congress had won 77 of Punjab's 117 seats. All exit polls had predicted a hung house for Punjab - the poll of exit polls had suggested that Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party would be neck and neck with the Congress.

Electronic Voting Machines, Kejriwal said, had been banned by some nations abroad because they can be tampered with. To conduct free and fair polls in India, they should be discontinued. "Our Supreme Court had said in the past that it is possible to tamper with EVMs. I'm not saying this, the Supreme Court said this," he said.

Citing an example, Kejriwal said, "In (Punjab's) Shri Govindpur we got 1 vote... there are 5 volunteers who swear they voted for us... similar instances across the state... where did all the votes go? There is something seriously wrong."

Kejriwal demanded that the votes registered in the EVMs be compared with the VVPAT trail (voter-verified paper audit trail) in nearly 32 places in Punjab. "It is about the credibility of the Election Commission and the faith of people in the electoral system. We have strong prima facie evidence of foul play," he said.

After the BJP's sweeping victory in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections and the dismal performance of her own party, Mayawati had called for a switch to ballot papers, alleging that EVMs or Electronic Voting Machines, make rigging easy.

Kejriwal yesterday called for the use of ballot papers in the coming municipal elections in Delhi - a request that has been turned down by the Election Commission, which said such a change requires more time than it at hand. The civic elections are due on April 22.