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Debating Over EVMs and Paper Ballot

Debating for EVMs or Paper Ballot : Are Political Leaders of India Suffering from Dementia?

In India, Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) started about 4 decades ago in 1982, in the by-election to North Paravaur Assembly Constituency in Kerala. Thereafter, it was used in several assembly elections in Delhi, Madhya pradesh, and Rajasthan. In 2003, all by-elections and state election were conducted by using EVMs. In 2004, paper ballet was left fully replacing EVM for Lok Sabha elections. This was the history of introduction of EVMs in India’s parliamentary democracy. It had been introduced to stop the malpractices of   vote rigging, forged voting, and booth capturing with muscle power. Further, it is a time saving because the paper ballots packed etc. consumed time more and it was also the wastage of tons of paper during election process. Therefore, EVMs are rime saving, alternative and better way of using voting rights of Indian voters.

But elections are always a matter of controversy in India. ‘Be it Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) or paper ballots, both have had their fair share of doubts and shortcomings’. Till there are several of types of malpractices during elections and every party blames with other. Free and fair election is almost impossible in India’s multi-parties political arena.  It has been noticed that several times different political party raised voice against accusation of EVM tampering, i.e. in 2009 L.K.Advani, veteran politician of BJP, in 2014 INC and in 2017 BSP and AAP after UP Assembly election and last of all, Ms. Mamata Banerjee of TMC after 2019 general elections. Ms. Banerjee is fielding for paper ballot voting again. She argues that it is the only medium of the transparency in a vote. While on February 1, 2019, Chief Election Commissioner opined, “We are not going back to the days of the ballot paper. (The) EVMs have been in use in our country for more than two decades. And it has been a consistent policy of the ECI (Election Commission of India) for quite some time and I think it will remain the same.”

Now which is effectively transparent medium of voting- EVM or paper ballot? Perhaps, political leaders do not identify it because when voters’ opinion goes against them, they search for conspiracy about overall system. When they would think about the wastage of public revenues for only political politics in the major? And what would be the future direction of development politics which is less getting priority in India?

This battle of EVM or paper ballot, is it not a symptom of dementia among political leaders in India?

Psychology defines dementia as a disease and the loss of ‘normality’ of those afflicted (Bond, 1992). It declines cognitive abilities of individuals. The World Health Organization (1992) states that dementia is an evidence of decline in memory and thinking which is sufficient to impair personal activities of daily living, and can lead to the conclusion that the experience of dementia is ‘ a living death.’  Edwards, A.J. (1993), defined “dementia is … a result of a set of conditions, medically diagnosed, and leading to recognised and measurable behaviour changes in an individual.”

 Suffering from dementia of political leaders of India is for their hunger of power and authority which are making people foolish, and they use to lure them badly, when people’s social and economic problems are paramount. Therefore, these leaders should go through treatment to save democracy and democratic rights of people. Development goal would be then prioritized.

References :

1.Bond, J. 1992. The medicalization of dementia, Journal of Ageing Studies, 6.4 .397-403

2.Edwards, A. J. 1993. Dementia. Plenum Press, New York

3.World Health Organization. 1992. The ICD-10: The International Classification of Diseases. Classification of Mental and Behavioural Disorders. WHO, Geneva.

The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.
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Written by Harasankar

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