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BJP Rigged EVMs to Make it a Close Contest With Congress, Says Hardik Patel

Hardik Patel addresses a press conference in Ahmedabad on Monday. (Photo: Manish Dubey/Network18)

Hardik Patel addresses a press conference in Ahmedabad on Monday. (Photo: Manish Dubey/Network18)

The Patidar Anamant Andolan Samiti (PAAS) convener, who backed the Congress in the polls, said the party would have won had the BJP not "indulged in cheating".

Ahmedabad: Patidar leader Hardik Patel on Monday alleged the BJP "tampered" with EVMs and used its “muscle and money power" to win the Gujarat assembly election.

The Patidar Anamant Andolan Samiti (PAAS) convener, who backed the Congress in the polls, said the party would have won had the BJP not "indulged in cheating".

“I congratulate the BJP which has won by tampering with the EVMs. Though people of Gujarat had taken a decision (of uprooting the BJP), the ruling party won though money power and by tampering with EVMs,” Patel told reporters after it became clear from trends that BJP would form the government in the state for the sixth time.

When asked to explain how the Congress had won close to 80 seats if EVMs were tampered, he said the machines were rigged to make it a close contest between the two parties so that there are no doubts cast over the result.

He also conceded that results from urban seats of Ahmedabad, Rajkot and Surat were not on expected lines.

Patel insisted that EVMs can also be "hacked" like ATMs. "There were instances wherein WiFi networks were detected during polling," he claimed.

Patel also alleged that seals of EVMs were found broken before the counting started at many places. "I urge all opposition parties to start a movement against the use of EVMs and demand that next elections be held through ballots papers only," he said.

Patel seemed upset over the poll outcome from urban seats of Ahmedabad, Surat and Rajkot, where the BJP is either leading or has won most seats despite the whirlwind campaigning undertaken by the quota spearhead.

"People of rural areas did their bit but I fail to understand what urban voters did. Now, I will spend more time in urban areas," he said.

Patel said it was "difficult to digest" the BJP's victory on several seats such as Varachha Road and Kamrej in Surat which have sizable Patidar population.

"Varachha Road and Kamrej have over one lakh Patidar voters each. They even turned up in huge numbers during my rallies in those areas. Despite that such results have come," he said.

Patel alleged the poll outcome showed that the BJP won through "unfair means". "The Congress could have won if they (BJP) had not done such cheating. Playing a safe game, the BJP had set a target of winning only 100 seats so that no one questions their victory," he said.