‘Fake news affects voting behaviour in a big way’

The biggest challenge as CEC was back-to-back elections throughout the year and it is almost getting resolved. I took over in the midst of Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland polls. All those elections were very sensitive, because of issues like the terrain and underground cadres. But, that went off very well. In fact, in Tripura, one major issue was the doubt on electronic voting machines raised by a political party. They felt that for the past five elections, the same machines were used and the CPI(M) got a majority and therefore, they should be changed. The Commission turned down the demand. The machines were changed in Meghalaya and Nagaland, but not in Tripura. When the result came, they realised that there was no problem with EVMs, as this time they won the polls. Then in Karnataka, one major party was demanding ballot papers. Then, we launched a massive public awareness campaign on EVM and VVPATs [Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail]. We created a constituency for EVMs. That has been followed by the elections in five States.


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