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‘Onus on Election Commission’: Pranab Mukherjee steps in on EVM tampering row

Earlier, Pranab Mukherjee had lauded the Election Commission conducting the 2019 national elections “perfectly”.

india Updated: May 21, 2019 16:06 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Pranab Mukherjee,India news,Election Commission
In a rare intervention, Pranab Mukherjee who issued a statement to emphasise that the onus to ensure the institutional integrity of the voting machines lay with Election Commission and it must deliver on this account.(HT File)

A day after Pranab Mukherjee lauded the Election Commission conducting the 2019 national elections “perfectly”, the former President walked right into the ongoing controversy between the opposition and the government over reports of alleged tampering of voting machines.

In a rare intervention, Pranab Mukherjee who issued a statement to emphasise that the onus to ensure the institutional integrity of the voting machines lay with Election Commission and it must deliver on this account.

“The onus of ensuring institutional integrity in this case lies with the Election Commission of India (ECI). They must do so and put all speculations to rest,” Mukherjee said.

“I am concerned at reports of alleged tampering of voters’ verdict,” Mukherjee said, a reference to reports and videos from several parts of the country that opposition parties allege, demonstrate an effort to tamper the voting machines.

The Election Commission has denied the allegations, insisting that the videos doing the rounds on social media were an effort to “refloat” allegations that had already been settled at local levels.

The commission, however, has not been able to convince opposition parties about the machines and the men, who man them. Leaders of about 20 political parties have come together in the national capital to discuss the challenge posed by the alleged vulnerabilities in voting machines and their management. A delegation will also meet the Election Commissioners later in the day.

In his firm message to the poll panel, Pranab Mukherjee said he had been a firm believer in the country’s institutions and “it is my considered opinion that it is the ‘workmen’ who decide how the institutional ‘tools’ perform.”

“The safety and security of EVMs which are in the custody of the ECI is the responsibility of the Commission. 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,” he said.

First Published: May 21, 2019 15:31 IST