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It is high time the Election Commission of India conducted the upcoming bye elections for the Parliamentary as well as Assembly constituencies of Gorakhpur in U.P. And the MCD elections using the ballot paper instead of EVM’s. if not for anything but to prove the opposition parties alleging tampering with the EVM’s in the recent polls in U.P. wrong and close the chapter on these allegations once and for all particularly in view of the reported demonstration of tampering in Madhya Pradesh. Since these two elections are small compared to any general election the cost of printing of ballot papers will be negligible. The refusal of the Election commission to do so now will appear as if it is trying to hide something from the public. India is a democracy, in fact world’s largest democracy.  In a democracy voice of the people must be heard especially if it is about the choice of the candidate or party for a five year term, during which the majority party in our first past the post system forms the government and pretty much does as it wishes, without caring for the voice of the people or the opposition. The poor voter has no way of influencing the party in power except waiting until the next election where he exercises his franchise and if for whatever reason he is told that his choice too was manipulated by some rogue elements you can imagine his frustration and his loss of faith in the fidelity of the whole system of governance. As it is the educated gentry either avoids joining politics or cannot afford to join politics because of the astronomical cost of electioneering, so the field is open for the lumpen and criminal elements to take part in the electoral politics on the strength of their ill gotten money and muscle power as a result semi literate goons are ruling the roost.

In order to restore the faith of the common voter in the electoral process the Election Commission of India must pass this Agni Pariksha, even if it is convinced that the EVM’s are 100% tamper proof.  I have gone through the FAQ’s on the ECI website and I am convinced that it is, physically, logistically and technically impossible for anybody to manipulate the EVM’s / VVPAT’s owned by the ECI to favor any party or contestant.

 However, justice must not only be done but shall also appear to be done. Lord Ram was certain that Sita was pure, Sita of course knew that she was blemish less, everybody closely connected with them was convinced that Sita was incorruptible, but a few voices of the people, that too of those who do not matter in the matters of the state were enough for Lord Ram to make Sita undertake the Agni Pariksha to exonerate herself and restore her esteem in the eyes of the public, the same deaf and dumb public who have nothing but the pride of their country being the largest democracy in the world and the constitutional authorities of their country being blemish less.

 No amount of open challenges being thrown in by the ECI and no detailed answers to the FAQ’s on their website, no clean chits by officials of another state will do now. It is only the Agnipariksha of holding the next few elections / bye elections in between now and 2019 using the old method of ballot papers that will restore the confidence of the people in the impeccability, impartiality and independence of the Election Commission of India.

 Any denials, excuses, delays, demonstrations of the incorruptibility of the EVM’s on the part of the Election Commission of India will be counterproductive and will only add fuel to the fire of mistrust. And you know, once the trust is breached in a civil society it will only be a dam burst of lawlessness which we can ill afford.

We as citizens of India will have better respect for the elections and elected representatives as they would appear to be genuinely elected persons. And this in turn will strengthen our faith in democracy and democratic institutions which appears to have been at its lowest ebb since independence.

 If this petition is signed by the required number of people, and the Election Commission of India/ Prime Minister of India/ Supreme Court of India, this change in the voting system on a small scale as requested will restore the public confidence in the election process and will redeem the EVM's which in my personal view is a better option than the printed ballot paper system. But in order to silence the critics once and for all let the Election Commission of India/ Prime Minister of India/ Supreme Court of India accept this petition. If there is nothing to hide, why shold there be reluctance to do what the public or the opposition wants. As the Urdu couplet says: "Hath Kangan Ko Aarsi Kya Hai" - "Padhe Likkhe Ko Farsi Kya Hai" this means " An 'aarsi' is an ornament that is worn by women on their thumbs that has a small convex mirror that they can use to look at their own face to check if their hair/make-up looks alright. Now obviously, why would you need an aarsi to look at a kangan on your own arm?This proverb basically means that those that have a genuine skill or accomplishment do not need superficial accolades to go about their business. If the Govt. and the EC are genuine about their claims what's wrong in giving in to this demand? So please go ahead and sign this petition and request your friends to do the same.

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