Gone are those days when political party workers - the so called 'goondas' used to capture polling stations to tamper votes and make their candidate win, thanks to electronic voting machines.
With the recent debate over the authenticity of the EVMs, the election commission is of the opinion that the machine has proved to be a milestone for the Indian democracy.
"EVMs are the safest mode for the election process of the nation. Because of them booth capturing is history now. It is on a chip based system which cannot be tampered with nor it can be operated from any outside gadget," said Dr S Y Quraishi, Election Commissioner during the launch of a book 'A handbook of poll surveys in media: an Indian perspective' by Dr N Bhaskar Rao.
The EVMs have been devised and designed by Election Commission in collaboration with two Public Sector undertakings viz., Bharat Electronics Ltd, Bangalore and Electronic Corporation of India Ltd.
"Its the commission's achievement that we have been able to make our election process just and fair - and EVMs are the major contribution in reducing the incidents leading to tampering of votes," said Navin Chawla, Chief Election Commissioner.
"The drastic difference we have seen is a steep fall in booth capturing from ten to one per cent. The three zones - Eastern UP and Bihar, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, MP and Jharkhand where votes were tampered to around 10 per cent but after the launch of EVMs the number came down to one per cent," said Dr N Bhaskar Rao, an expert in poll surveys.
Haryana, UP, Bihar and Punjab were the most sensitive areas during election season but now the scenario has taken a u-turn after 2004, the year in which EVMs were launched.
"The 2004 general elections was remarkable victory as the number came down to zero. There were hardly any booth capturing incidents which took place either in 2004 or even in this year's elections," said Rajesh Malhotra, spokesperson, Election Commission.
In fact, voting by EVMs is simpler compared to the conventional system, where one has to put the voting mark on or near the symbol of the candidate of his choice, fold it first vertically and then horizontally and thereafter put it into the ballot box.
In EVMs, the voter has to simply press the blue button against the candidate and symbol of his choice and the vote is recorded. Rural and illiterate people had no difficulty in recording their votes and, in fact they have welcomed the use of EVMs.
"Why do we need to ape the west, there were objections as Europe has rejected the use of EVMs. We need to understand that they use operating system which can be easily tampered with. Our system is entirely different," added Quraishi.
The Election Commission data says that EVMs can save the considerable printing stationery and transport of large volumes of electoral material, can ease transportation, storage, and maintenance, there will be no invalid votes, will help in reduction in polling time, resulting in fewer problems in electoral preparations, law and order, candidates' expenditure and will ensure easy and accurate counting without any mischief at the counting centre.
Adding to Quraishi's point Minister of State Sachin Pilot denied all the allegations of EVMs not being fool proof.
"We have pioneered. The whole world looks up to us as to how we have digitalised our election process. I don't believe in the accusations. These machines are entirely fool proof and the whole credit goes to the Election Commission," said Sachin Pilot, minister of state, Information and Broadcasting.