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The truth behind Electronic Voting Machines

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image source : saveindiandemocracy

Politicians in India are the greatest psychologists. Even after defeats in elections and after complete loss of  trust of the people, they resort to play  at psychological level and attempt to  manipulate public perception to stay afloat in public life. The loud cry about  electronic voting machines and its manipulation  is one such glaring example. Presently AAP , BSP, Congress and Samajwadi Party and many others who faced crushing defeats in recent past are leading a campaign against use of EVMs. In fact BJP has the discredit to be the first party to cry out against EVMs . It was none other than L.K. Advani who accused EVMs are manipulated by congress , after BJP was defeated in 2004 general elections.
The present foul cry had unprecedented coverage in media .India is the greatest hub of arm chair experts , who often help build false perceptions through media. These defeatist elements in politics and media were successful in creating doubts about veracity of EVMs ,and suspicion in the minds of people.
Probably that is what must have driven all powerful Election Commission of India to allow public tests of EVMs between 1 st to 10th  May 2017. The Election Commission shall allow the EVMs to be handled by any one who accepts the challenge and technically prove that it can be manipulated.
I have the rare and unique experience of conducting elections as Returning Officer both with ballot papers as well as EVMs. I can say with authority and responsibility that EVMs in India are wonder machines which can never be tampered or manipulated.
The design and manufacturing of EVMs was a collective effort of Election Commission of India and two public sector giants, Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. ( BHEL), Bangalore,and Electronic Corporation of India Ltd. Hyderabad. The design of the EVM and its programme is highly innovative and completely secure so much so that no hacker can reach to decipher the programme forget hacking and manipulations. And that is precisely why I call it a wonder machine.
Not many (including armchair experts) in India know That the EVMs were designed and programmed by professors AG Rao and Ravi Poovaiah, Both hailing from IIT Bombay. They remained unknown, despite such a great contribution to the nation because our mainstream media is more obsessed with Bangalore tech startups and capital they raise, than the scientists from public sector who have been silently performing and competing with the best in the world.
Today many countries import EVMs from India. When the lesser mortals in India baselessly question the authenticity they are also harming business prospects of public sector companies who manufacture these wonder machines.
Secondly these cunning  politicians are trading on the ignorance of the masses about  the transparent and full proof election process in India. The fact that machines are sealed before the representative of every contesting candidates has no mention  at all in any media reports so far. Their signatures are obtained on every seal and  and only then EVMs are dispatched to polling stations where the representatives are asked to verify  the seals. If any tampering is noticed the said machine is replaced with reserved EVM .These seals are finally opened at the counting centres, that too after full satisfaction of candidates counting agents.
The election commission must ask the challenging persons to try and breach entire process under which the machines are deployed and not stand alone tests of hardware and software..
The use of EVMs have made the conduct of elections less cumbersome . More than 10,000 tons of paper is saved in one general election. One ton of paper requires 15 average size trees. Every general election EVMs save 150,000 trees. In last three general elections EVMs have saved 450,000 trees. Would this be regarded as an achievement ?
We live in a country where Sita had to  perform “Agni Pariksha “(fire test),on insistence of lesser mortals. As long as we cherish and allow such things; the righteous in India shall always be put to test .

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PM Modi: Congress neglected development of cities

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday accused the Congress of neglecting the development of cities during its long rule in the country and said his government had come out with new ideas and approach on urban governance.

Villages were the “soul” of the country, while cities were its “energy” centres, he said, addressing a public meeting here.

“The development of civic amenities and infrastructure in cities did not match the growth in population. Under the previous Congress rule, cities remained neglected,” he alleged.

However, after the BJP-led government came to power at the Centre in 2014, the approach towards urban governance changed, Modi claimed.

The Prime Minister said his government’s schemes like Swachh Bharat, Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana, Smart City and AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation) laid the foundation of a “New India”.

Under the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana, three times more houses were constructed in four years than the ten years of the Congress-led UPA rule (2004-14), he said.

“If we went by the speed of the UPA regime, we would have taken 20 years to do what we achieved in four years,” Modi said.

He said his government had provided a transparent and corruption-free administration in the last four years and people were experiencing its results.

Referring to Indore, the Prime Minister said the city had shown those making fun of his government’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan how change can be accomplished.

The commercial hub of Madhya Pradesh last month emerged as the cleanest city in the country in the Centre’s nationwide cleanliness survey. This was the second time Indore was adjudged the cleanest city.

“So far, 2,300 cities in 18 states have been declared ODF (open defecation-free) and on the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi next year, the dream of a Swachh Bharat will be fulfilled,” he said.

Modi said 8.30 crore toilets were constructed in the country in the last four years, 65 lakhs of them in Madhya Pradesh alone.

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Amit Shah: Pulled out of J&K government as PDP ignored interests of Jammu and Ladakh

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Amit Shah

BJP chief Amit Shah on Saturday backed the party’s decision to walk out of Mehbooba Mufti government and accused the PDP of ignoring the interests of Jammu and Ladakh.

“PM Modi sent crores of rupees for the development of J&K, but the PDP government ignored the interests of Jammu and Ladakh. So we decided to quit the government,” the BJP chief said, adding, “for us the development of Jammu and Ladakh is the top-most priority.”

“There was a need for the balanced development of the three regions in the state,” he said.

Amit Shah snapped at both the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the National Conference (NC), saying “We had allotted Rs 40 crore for the development of Pashmina & Rs 45 crore for Pampore haat. The two families from NC & PDP ruled J&K for three generations but never did anything for Pashmina or Pampore haat.”

The BJP chief was addressing a rally to mark “historic martyrdom anniversary” of Jana Sangh founder Syama Prasad Mookerjee.

This was his first visit to Jammu and Kashmir after BJP withdrew support from the PDP-led government in the state.

Amit Shah praised Syama Prasad Mookerjee for integrating Kashmir with India.

“The BJP workers have a special relationship with Jammu & Kashmir due to the contribution of Syama Prasad Mookerjee,” Shah said.

The BJP chief slammed Rahul Gandhi over the remarks made by Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Saifuddin Soz over Kashmir, and said, “Rahul should apologize for the statements made by his party leaders.”

Earlier today, Amit Shah, who reached Jammu this morning for a day-long trip, reviewed the party’s preparations and strategy for the Lok Sabha election due next year.

The BJP chief was accorded a rousing reception with party’s youth wing taking out a bike rally from the airport to the state guest house.

“The BJP president chaired several meeting and reviewed organisational functioning, preparations for the forthcoming LS polls and its strategy,” a senior BJP leader told PTI.

Amit Shah chaired the election committee meeting of the party to discuss the issues for the next election, he said.

The leaders have briefed him about the forthcoming programmes of the party in J&K in view of LS polls and also gave him an elaborate briefing about the current programmes in the state.

The party president was accompanied by state unit chief Ravinder Raina and other senior leaders.

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Sanjay Gandhi: a tale of the Maruti chariot he could never ride

Arti Ghargi

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Though Maruti was Sanjay Gandhi’s brainchild- a crowned prince’s dream, he could never ride the chariot.

We all have heard the childhood fairy-tales about the princes, their chariots and their bravery. The tale of Sanjay Gandhi is nowhere close to such fairy tales, except the man’s notoriety had earned him the tag of an infamous “Crowned Prince”. However, this story is about the Crowned Prince and his Maruti – a chariot he dreamt of but could never ride in his lifetime.

There’s only one word that describes the life of Sanjay Gandhi and the man himself perfectly- “controversial”. Those who have seen him closely remember him as the rebellious, destructive Crown Prince and ruthless, malevolent politician. Some even term him a sycophant for his catastrophic implementation of forced sterilisation and slum destruction. However, this “wild wayward youth” as termed by Pupul Jayakar had another side to him which reflected in his love for cars. As the Congress party remembers him today as a person who championed the need for affordable cars in India, we recall how the Maruti- India’s most popular car was born.

After completing his initial education at Welham Boys’ School and then at the Doon School in Dehra Dun, Sanjay Gandhi’s passion for cars drove him to automotive engineering. The adventure junkie was even interested in aircraft aerobatics besides the sports cars. He even worked with Rolls-Royce in CreweEngland for three years. He returned India in 1968 with his brainchild- the idea to produce an efficient and completely indigenous car which will suit India’s middle class and yet not create a big hole in their pocket. As visionary as this idea seemed, what followed after was not less than a nightmare.

How ‘Maruti Motors’ came into existence:

A lot of critics believe it was the result of rampant nepotism which is why the then Indian government, led by Indira Gandhi too supported the idea of producing small car proposed by Sanjay Gandhi. In 1971, Indira Gandhi’s Cabinet proposed the production of a “People’s Car” for the Indian Middle Class. In June same year, ‘Maruti Motors Limited’ was incorporated under the Companies Act. Sanjay Gandhi took charge as the Managing Director of this company.

Sanjay Gandhi

Image Source: Web

The humongous controversy around Maruti:

It was after the government awarded a contract to build the cars and the exclusive production licence, that Sanjay Gandhi came under the radar of opposition. Reportedly, the government even issued a letter of intent allowing him to produce up to 50,000 cars in a year despite having no prior experience of building a car, no working prototype, or even a tie-up with a car maker.

Sanjay Gandhi who had by then begun the process of developing a prototype at a shack in Delhi’s Gulabi Bagh felt the need of bigger space. According to a report in motoroids, a few parts were sourced from the Jama Masjid area and a Triumph motorcycle engine was used to propel the car. After making a few improvements the car was even taken to Ahmednagar for testing. The report claims Sanjay Gandhi and his men even made three initial cars since there was only so much space at the garage, Sanjay shifted base to the Laxman Sylvania factory, where they spent 18 months in a separate shed. However, he needed a bigger space.

Sanjay Gandhi

Sanjay Gandhi working on Maruti Prototype. Image Source: Web

The then Chief Minister of Haryana, Bansi Lal (who later came to be known as the member of “Sanjay’s Coterie”) offered him land in Haryana. Initially, the Haryana government offered him a land at Sonepat but Sanjay Gandhi wanted a land near Delhi. Thus, instead of Sonepat, he chose a land near Gurgaon. The land was sold to him at throwaway prices. In her book The Emergency-A Personal History, journalist Coomi Kapoor revealed how the land deal was entangled in corruption and many illegal activities that followed. The Gandhi scion and the Indira Gandhi government came under fire over the corruption issue.

Thus, the government and Maruti Motors decided to show the test model as a display of progress. A feasibility test was done on Maruti by the Vehicle Research & Development Establishment, Ahmednagar. However, the car did not pass it as it wasn’t roadworthy. While the opposition got an opportunity to intensify its attack, the public perception too was turned against the Gandhis.

Sanjay Gandhi

Maruti Unit in Delhi. Image Source: Web

The death of Maruti:

Soon after this, the emergency was imposed in the country and Sanjay Gandhi put the Maruti project on the backburner. He actively participated in the politics and saw a meteoric rise in his political career. So much so, that even without being an elected MP, he commanded authority over the Congress workers and office bearers. His fallout with IK Gujaral, the then I&B Minister is known to everyone. After two years of emergency, Indira Gandhi announced elections in the country and to not anyone’s surprise was defeated. The incumbent Janata government ordered a report on Maruti Motors dealings. Justice AP Gupta, the head of the inquiry commission released a damning report on the whole episode. In 1977, Maruti Motors was liquidated.

 

The many tales of horror of corruption:

In a chapter on the episode, Coomi Kapoor accused that the Maruti motors resorted to extortion, string-pulling to bend rules, and even blackmail. It only worsened during Emergency. Reportedly, the traders of Janpath were threatened to buy the Maruti shares or face the demolition of their stores.

She further writes that an executive working for the Singhania companies was arrested under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act in November 1975. He was released only after affiliates of the family bought the Maruti Shares. A dealer was arrested under MISA who demanded his deposit back because there was no sign of the car.

The revival of Maruti:

On 23 June 1980, Sanjay Gandhi died in an air crash flying a new aircraft of the Delhi Flying club near Safdarjung Airport. He was performing an aerobatic manoeuvre over his office when he lost control and crashed. The Indira Gandhi government swung back to power in the subsequent election and a year after Sanjay Gandhi’s death the Union government salvaged Maruti Limited. It started looking for an active collaborator for a new company-Maruti Udyog Ltd. This is when the Japanese company Suzuki was contacted to present the design and feasibility of their car. The government had also contacted Volkswagen. When Suzuki learned about it, it left no stone unturned to keep the German company out of the race to produce India’s first People’s Car (Maruti 800). Rest is history. Suzuki presented the government a feasible Design of their ‘Model 796’, which went on to become a success in Japan and East Asian countries.

Image Source: Web

Though Maruti was Sanjay Gandhi’s brainchild- a Crown Prince’s dream, He could never see it being built. The Maruti that captured Indian Middle Class’ automobile imagination remained a chariot Sanjay Gandhi could never ride.

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