Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said that polls can be rigged through social media, and that if social media companies want, they can make any party win an election.
Without naming any party, he also said that communal violence has been planted as a strategic weapon to cause disharmony in society by one ideology and its leaders.
Mr Gandhi made these remarks while interacting with civil society members led by activists Medha Patkar and G G Parikh during the Bharat Jodo Yatra here.
“Even if the EVM (electronic voting machine) is secure, Indian elections may be rigged through social media. If large social media companies want, they can make any party win an election. Systematic bias is being applied there and my social media handles are a live example of it,” the Congress MP said.
A statement by the Congress said during the meeting, the representatives raised relevant issues like political democracy and communal harmony, among others.
Speaking about political democracy, Ms Patkar said it is not confined to the doubts surrounding the EVMs, but also means that a rigorous manifestation of VVPAT (voter verifiable paper audit trail) is a must.
She spoke about citizens’ participation in the drafting and crafting of the manifesto of all parties, whereby legal reforms must be made to make the manifesto binding on all political parties.
Ms Patkar highlighted the relevance of strengthening gram sabhas and local bodies, saying Mahatma Gandhi had envisioned it. She also laid emphasis on reforming laws like the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and labour laws for the benefit of farmers.
Irfaan Engineer, a human rights activist, raised issues relating to communal disharmony, polarization, and hate-mongering.
Mr Gandhi responded by saying, “Communal violence has been planted as a strategic weapon to cause disharmony in the society by one ideology and its leaders.” Gandhi along with the yatra participants will halt at Akola overnight and proceed to Buldhana on Thursday.