A day after Pranab Mukherjee lauded the Election Commission for “perfectly” conducting the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the former president on Tuesday expressed concern over reports of alleged “tampering of voters’ verdict”.
“I am concerned over reports of alleged tampering of voters’ verdict. Safety and security of EVMs is Election Commission’s responsibility,” Mukherjee said in a statement.
At a time when the poll panel has been criticised by the opposition parties for being allegedly biased towards the BJP, Mukherjee said the onus was on the Election Commission to ensure institutional integrity.
Mukherjee said as a firm believer in the country’s institutions, it was his considered opinion that it was the “workmen” who decide how the institutional “tools” perform.
“There can be no room for speculations that challenge the very basis of our democracy. People’s mandate is sacrosanct and has to be above any iota of reasonable doubt. A firm believer in our institutions, it is my considered opinion that it is the ‘workmen’ who decide how the institutional ‘tools’ perform,” he said.
Speaking at a book launch event on Monday, Mukherjee said right from the first election commissioner Sukumar Sen to the present election commissioners, the institution was working very well. “You cannot criticise them, it was perfect conduct of elections,” the former president said.
His remarks came on a day Congress president Rahul Gandhi alleged that the Election Commission’s “capitulation” before Prime Minister Narendra Modi was obvious and the poll watchdog was not feared and respected anymore.
On Tuesday, a video emerged on social media purportedly showing EVMs being unloaded from a truck a day after voting in Chandauli and Ghazipur constituencies in Uttar Pradesh. There were also allegations of EVM manipulation in parts of Bihar, Haryana and Punjab.
The Election Commission called the allegations “frivolous” said the voting machines were maintained in “proper security and protocol”.