EVM ‘hacking’ row: Who is Ravindra Waikar, Shiv Sena MP from Mumbai North West? | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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EVM ‘hacking’ row: Who is Ravindra Waikar, Shiv Sena MP from Mumbai North West?

Jun 17, 2024 11:21 AM IST

Ravindra Dattaram Waikar contested 2024 Lok Sabha polls as a candidate of Eknath Shinde's Shiv Sena from Mumbai North West Lok Sabha seat and won by 48 votes.

A fresh political slugfest erupted after a report by Mid-Day newspaper that claimed that a relative of the Shiv Sena candidate in Mumbai North West Lok Sabha constituency Ravindra Waikar was found using a mobile phone “connected” to an electronic voting machine (EVM) during the counting of votes on June 4.

Shiv Sena (UBT) MLA Ravindra Waikar joined the Shiv Sena Eknath Shinde faction on March 10. (Bhushan Koyande/HT Photo)
Shiv Sena (UBT) MLA Ravindra Waikar joined the Shiv Sena Eknath Shinde faction on March 10. (Bhushan Koyande/HT Photo)

While the Opposition, including Congress, questioned the reliability of EVMs, the Bharatiya Janata Party hit out at the opposition leaders over the issue and demanded that the Election Commission of India should prosecute all those who "amplified the lie" by sharing the news report.

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi and others on Sunday also quoted a post by Elon Musk, chairman of social media platform X and CEO of Tesla, in which he talked about eliminating EVMs and claimed the risk of hacking was “too high”.

However, Vandana Suryavanshi, returning officer of the Mumbai North West Lok Sabha constituency, dismissed the report in Mid-Day newspaper as “false news” and said a defamation notice has been issued to the publication. She added that the EVM is a standalone system, not programmable and has no wireless communication capabilities.

Who is Ravindra Waikar?

  • Ravindra Dattaram Waikar contested the 2024 Lok Sabha elections as a candidate of the Shiv Sena, led by Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde, from Mumbai North West Lok Sabha constituency and won the seat by just 48 votes.
  • Ravindra Waikar, once a close associate of Uddhav Thackeray and was under scrutiny by central agencies, joined the Eknath Shinde camp on March 10.

Political background

  • Ravindra Waikar was a three-time MLA from Jogeshwari East before becoming an MP.
  • He started as a corporator in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and served for four terms.
  • He also served as the chairman of the BMC standing committee from 2006 to 2009.

Ministerial roles

  • Ravindra Waikar has served as a minister in both the BJP-Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) governments.

Financial allegations

  • Ravindra Waikar faced multiple allegations of financial misappropriation. In 2016, Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam accused him of illegally taking over a public plot at Aarey Milk Colony and constructing a gymnasium using legislator funds.
  • In 2020, BJP leader Kirit Somaiya alleged financial dealings involving the Thackerays and Waikar families. He claimed that Thackeray’s wife Rashmi and Waikar’s wife Manisha purchased 21 plots in Kolai village, Murud taluka in Raigad from Anvay Naik, his wife Akshata Naik, and daughter Adnya Naik. Anvay Naik and his mother died by suicide in 2018, The Indian Express reported.

Education and assets

  • Ravindra Waikar 's educational qualification is graduate, and he has declared business, the government of Maharashtra salary, and allowances as their profession. As per the election affidavit, Ravindra Waikar has total assests of 54.5 crore and liabilities valuing 4.5 crore.
  • He has declared annual income as 46.9 lakh.

Allegation during the 2024 Lok Sabha polls

The Mid-Day report said Mangesh Pandilkar, the brother in law of Ravindra Waikar, had used a mobile phone to “unlock” an EVM when the votes were being counted on June 4, allegations which returning officer Vandana Suryavanshi and Mumbai Police have rubbished.

Mangesh Pandilkar and a polling official Dinesh Gurav have been booked by Vanrai police under section 188 of the Indian Penal Code for flouting the EC ban on mobile phones inside counting centres.

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