A brief guide to the many brewing election controversies 

An overview of noteworthy articles that capture the many aspects ailing the conduct of elections in India, from rigging of electronic voting machines to curbing black money in campaign financing

1) How the Election Commission conducts elections in the world’s largest democracy
About 814.5 million eligible voters, 930,000 polling booths and over 11 million officials and security personnel is what it took to conduct the General Assembly elections of India 2014, an event clearly touted as the biggest humanly managed event (elections) in the history of the world. Via YourStory

2) RTI Response Raises Serious Questions About Security, Handling of EVMs
The response by the Election Commission (EC) and two electronic voting machine (EVM) manufacturers – Electronics Corporation of India Limited and Bharat Electronics Limited – to an Right to Information (RTI) query relating to a petition filed following the Uttarakhand polls has revealed administrative and security protocol violations as several machines were apparently handled by unqualified staff.

The RTI responses have also revealed divergence in EC and Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) data on number of ballot units and control units that have been manufactured over the year. Further, it has indicated that proper records on disposal of the EVMs were not available. Via The Wire

3) Karnataka: Former Cong MLA to approach HC against EVM
Former MLA of Mangaluru City South J R Lobo, who was defeated by his rival BJP candidate Vedavyas Kamath, is all set to approach the high court seeking clarification regarding his suspicion over EVM and VVPAT. Via The Times of India

4) The endless EVM debate
The case against the use of EVMs rests on three reasonable apprehensions. First, the EVMs can, in principle, be manipulated. Second, the Modi-Shah duo is obsessed about winning elections at all costs and you cannot put any trick past them. Third, of late, the EC cannot be trusted not to bend to the needs of the ruling party. The apprehensions are well founded. But it does not follow that EVMs must have been, or shall be, rigged. Nor should we conclude that shifting from EVM to ballot paper is a necessary and sufficient solution. Yogendra Yadav writes in The Tribune

5) BJP Alone Received 90.31% Of The Total Donations To National Parties Above Rs 20,000: ADR Report
The report revealed that the total donations of above the Rs 20,000 amount declared by the national parties were Rs 589.38 crore from 2123 donations. Rs 532.27 crore, that is 90.31% of the total donations was declared by BJP alone. Notably, the donations declared by BJP is more than nine times the aggregate donation amount declared by the other parties in the survey. Via The Logical Indian

6) A vote for state funding
India’s privately funded election campaign stands in contrast to the trend in most countries, which have partial or full public funding or transparent regulation and financial accountability of political finance as in the U.S. Corruption in election finance and the flawed party funding system drive political parties to misuse government’s discretionary powers to raise funds for election campaigns. The combined effect is the absence of a level playing field which has reduced the effectiveness of our democracy. JNU’s Zoya Hasan writes in The Hindu

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