- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared victory in the world’s biggest election on Thursday.
- Roughly 600 million voters cast ballots over six weeks. The entire US population is around 330 million.
- The election was marred by conspiracy theories claiming that Modi’s party was swapping electronic voting machines for rigged ones.
- Online videos of the machines being transported without proper security fueled the accusations.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
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.
In Haryana’s Fatehabad, a truck load of EVMs entered the strong room without any verification of documents.
As per EC guidelines, till counting is over, any to & fro movement of EVMs (to/fm strong rooms) should be in the presence of political party reps
— Ravi Nair (@t_d_h_nair) May 20, 2019
A jeep filled with EVM hovering around the Saran and Maharajganj Lok Sabha constituencies of Bihar, which was hiding near the stroller room, was caught by the RJD-Congress workers. Along with that there were also Sadar BDOs who have no answers. Will @ECISVEEP act on this ? pic.twitter.com/koDF7VQFEd
— AAP Bengaluru (@AAPBangalore) May 21, 2019
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.