Day after lauding the Election Commission for “perfectly” conducting the Lok Sabha polls, former President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday, expressed his “concern” at reports of alleged tampering of the EVMs saying that the “onus of ensuring institutional integrity lies with the poll body and it must do so and put all speculations to rest”.
Mukherjee said the safety and security of EVMs which is in the custody of the ECI is the responsibility of the Commission.
He further said there can be no room for speculations that challenge the very basis of democracy.
“People’s mandate is sacrosanct and has to be above any iota of reasonable doubt,” the former president said in a statement.
“A firm believer in our institutions, it is my considered opinion that it is the ‘workmen’ who decide how the institutional ‘tools’ perform,” he added.
At a book launch on Monday, Pranab Mukherjee hailed the poll body for “perfectly” conducting the polls even as the opposition criticised the Election Commission of acting under pressure from the BJP government.
“If democracy has succeeded, it is largely due to perfect conduct of elections by Election Commissioners starting from Sukumar Sen to the present Election Commissioners,” he was quoted as saying by IANS at a book launch in the national capital.
His remarks come at a time when the Election Commission is being heavily criticised by both the opposition and the ruling government.
The opposition has accused the poll body of surrendering to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP.
PM Modi was given a clean chit in three cases, while party president Amit Shah was let off in one incident of violation of the model code of conduct during election campaigns.
Pranab Mukherjee said all the three Commissioners are appointed by the executive and they are doing their job well.
Reports have been circulating on alleged transportation of EVMs from strongrooms in Uttar Pradesh.
However, the EC has dismissed the reports as “baseless”.