BENGALURU: When Bharat Electronics Limited first did their initial trial run for the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) in Karnataka, Maharani Lakshmi Ammanni College was part of it. On Saturday, nearly three decades down the line, the college has used this device for their student elections.
Having turned autonomous, the college found it necessary to conduct elections in a democratic fashion on the lines of the University Grants Commission guidelines.
Hence, EVMs were used for student elections this year at the college.
It was the batch 1990-1991 that witnessed the trial run conducted by BEL. That year, the student elections at this college had a new twist. A new gadget was introduced to ensure transparency.
Sharmistha Dutta (53), Associate Professor, recollected with nostalgia that she was among the first batch of teachers to be trained to use EVM.
“Back then, we were told that BEL had to test a new device. Who knew that would be the future of elections?” she said.
She said it was a brief 15-minute orientation on how the machine was to be used when it was introduced to them back then. “A professor from our college had contacts in the BEL and hence it was tested here for the first time in the state. We had the BEL staff helping us on working on the machine,” she added.
Back then, the college strength was so low that they needed only one booth for the student elections to be conducted. On Saturday, the college had rented 20 EVMs paying a rent of `20,000 for their use. Over 1,000 students cast their votes at the college to elect a student representative.
The college also purchased indelible ink to mark the candidates who had cast their votes, said Manjunath C, Associate Professor, Kannada Department.
It was mandatory for students to participate. Those with their college ID were considered eligible to vote. “The first year students did not have ID cards. They had to produce their fee receipt to vote,” he added.
Teachers were trained to be election officers while representatives from BEL supervised.
As students flashed their ID cards, the teachers scored against their names in the list with them and let them cast the vote. Their fingers were inked.
Each student could cast four votes. One each for the president, vice president, general secretary and joint secretary.