Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday alleged that about 20% to 25% of the Aam Aadmi Party’s votes in Punjab Assembly elections were “transferred” to the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance. He claimed that Electronic Voting Machines had been tampered with ahead of the polls.
His party lost to the Congress in the polls, winning 20 seats in the 117-member Assembly. SAD-BJP had been projected to face a dismal loss but had managed to win 18 seats between the two of them. Like former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati, Kejriwal has claimed that the EVMs had automatically recorded votes for the BJP even if voters had instead chosen another party.
“25% to 30% of AAP’s vote was transferred to the SAD so that the Congress wins the election,” he said, adding that Akali’s victory would have made the tampering “too obvious”. “They only wanted to keep AAP out.” The Congress has 77 seats in the state.
Kejriwal said AAP’s defeat in Punjab was “beyond understanding” as political analysts and the exit polls had predicted a victory for the party. “Many had said people were against the SAD-BJP coalition in Punjab and that the AAP was set to sweep the polls, however, while SAD got 31% votes, AAP only got 25%,” he said. Congress, which was not expected to perform well, got a two-third majority, he added.
Kejriwal also claimed that at one of the booths in Punjab, the AAP got only four votes. However, the party has seven volunteers in that area and their families too had voted for AAP. “Where did those votes go?” he asked.
The AAP chief said EVMs should be withdrawn from poll processes as they are prone to tampering, as suggested by the Supreme Court as well. “Developed countries have given up EVMs, now should we not rethink? Even the BJP, including Lal Krishna Advani had said that EVMs can be tampered,” he added.
Union minister and SAD leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal responded to Kejriwal and said he needed to focus his energy on managing Delhi, especially since Punjab’s voters had not put their faith in him. “He should do vipassana [meditation],” PTI reported her as saying.
On Tuesday, Kejriwal had written to the Election Commission calling for the use of ballot papers instead of the EVMs in the upcoming elections in New Delhi’s three municipal corporations.
After the Assembly results were announced on March 11, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati had alleged that the machines used during the UP polls had been manipulated. She said this had let voters only choose the BJP, because of which the party won a massive majority.