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India elections 2019: Conspiracy claims electronic voting rigged

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Narendra Modi declared victory in India’s national elections on Thursday, a contest which saw 600 million votes cast by the largest democratic electorate in history.

However, the results — still being counted — have been marred by conspiracy theories claiming that the electronic system used process the votes had been rigged.

The victory of Modi and his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was already predicted by several exit polls since voting wrapped up on Sunday, according to The Associated Press.

However, while results were being tallied, opposition figures questioned the integrity of India’s electronic voting system.

Their claims of irregularities were buoyed by videos showing Electronic Voting Machine units (EVMs) being transported in private cars without security, Indian news site Scroll.in reported.

They accused officials of not following security protocol. According to Scroll.in, the thrust of the conspiracy is that this would allow Modi supporters to swap out the EVMs with other machines.

Opposition politician Mamata Banerjee discredited exit polls predicting a Modi win.

“The game plan is to manipulate or replace thousands of EVMs through this gossip,” he tweeted.

While several opposition leaders complained to the Election Commission, that body denied any wrongdoing, according to our sister site Business Insider India.

The commission said all EVMs were held in “absolutely safe strongrooms” and not vulnerable to tampering.

“The visuals seen viral on media do not pertain to any EVMs used during the polls,” it said in a statement.

According to the results available at time of writing, Modi won around 65% of the vote, setting him up for another five-year term in charge of India.

The prime minister has found widespread support with his “self-made man” image and promises to revamp the economy.

But Modi’s critics say his Hindu nationalist platform is fueling tensions with religious minorities.

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