Elections

Pranab Mukherjee expresses ‘concern’ over EVM tampering charges

Our Bureau/Agencies New Delhi | Updated on May 21, 2019 Published on May 21, 2019

File Photo of former President Pranab Mukherjee   -  PTI

A day after expressing satisfaction over the conduct of polls, the former President says the onus of ensuring credibility of the election process lies on the EC

As some parts of Uttar Pradesh witnessed violence over videos of alleged tampering and suspicious movement of EVMs, former President Pranab Mukherjee expressed his concern on the developments.

Mukherjee has been on the other side over the Opposition’s allegations of bias against the Election Commission.

At a book event on Monday, he reiterated he was a firm believer in the country’s institutions and it is his considered opinion that “only the ‘workmen’ decide how the institutional ‘tools’ perform”.

However, he seemed to have joined the ongoing debate on the controversy by expressing concern over the alleged tampering of voters’ verdict, saying the onus of ensuring institutional integrity lies with the EC, which should put all speculation to rest.

He also said there can be no room for speculation that challenges the very basis of Indian democracy.

“I am concerned over reports of alleged tampering of voters’ verdict. The safety and security of EVMs, which are in the custody of the EC, is the responsibility of the Commission,” he said in a one-page statement posted on his Twitter handle.

 

He said people’s mandate is sacrosanct and has to be above any iota of reasonable doubt.

“The onus of ensuring institutional integrity, in this case, lies with the EC. They must do so and put all speculations to rest,” he said.

While various videos of the alleged movement and tampering of EVMs, made by political party workers, especially in the Chandauli Lok Sabha seat, went viral on social media, the EC termed the charge as “frivolous” and “unfounded”.

The Congress said the EC should take immediate and effective steps to address the complaints of the movement of EVMs from strong-rooms from various parts of the country.

Top opposition leaders, who met here on Tuesday, also decided to move the EC to press for their demand of tallying the voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPATs) with the EVM figures.

Dissent not to be public

Meanwhile, rejecting the demand of Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa, the ‘full commission’ on Tuesday ruled that dissents and minority views in EC orders, in cases of the Model Code violations, would not be made public.

The dissent notes and minority views would remain part of records as it is the case now, the EC said in a statement.

Published on May 21, 2019
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