Even as the state braces up for the second phase of polling on December 14, Muslim voters at large are a disillusioned lot. This disillusionment stems from one deciding factor; the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).
Many Muslim voters in Gujarat are apprehensive that the EVMs will not do justice to their votes since they suspect that the machines are not going to deliver the votes to the candidate/party of their choice.
In fact, one anxious Muslim voter described the EVM as ‘the devil.’
The discussions in Muslim areas are largely about EVMs. They are however going to go ahead to exercise their franchise on December 14 regardless of their concerns.
As the social media is abuzz with the circulation of messages about EVMs being tampered with, many in the border district of Chhota Udaipur fear their votes might be transferred to other candidates.
“Our vote is the only power we have and if somebody changes it, what are we left within a democracy?” Asked 57-year-old Sayed Mala, a small-time construction contractor.
Mala said he did not trust EVMs saying that ballot papers were the more credible option, a feeling shared by many others across the district which has three Assembly constituencies.
More worried about EVMs than the others are the educated ones since they have access to social media platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook.
“I know who I will vote for. But I am not assured if it will be counted in his favour. But with a ballot paper, my vote can’t be changed,” said Kalol college student Sultan Hussain.
Another voter said he could not fully trust the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT), a process to verify that the vote cast had gone to the candidate concerned.
Farooq Sayeed from Timla village in Chhota Udaipur compared EVMs with the ‘devil.’
"There are so many videos of EVMs being tampered with on social media. My vote can be changed," he said.
Hindu voters are largely not worried about the EVMs.
Narendra Sinh Bari, a 38-year-old man who runs a mobile shop, said any method could trigger doubts.
"We should trust the machines," he said.
(with PTI inputs)