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Election Commission must put speculation to rest, says Pranab Mukherjee on EVM ‘tampering’

Former President Pranab Mukherjee said he was concerned over reports of EVM tampering and said the safety of EVMs is responsibility of Election Commission.

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New Delhi: Former President Pranab Mukherjee Tuesday expressed concern over reports of alleged tampering of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM), saying people’s mandate is sacrosanct and that the onus is on the Election Commission to put all such speculation to rest.

Mukherjee’s remarks came on a day when reports of EVMs being transported in cars in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab and Haryana emerged along with video clips, just two days ahead of the counting of votes Thursday.

Issuing a statement on Twitter, Mukherjee said, “I am concerned at reports of alleged tampering of voters’ verdict. The safety and security of EVMs which are in the custody of 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,” the veteran Congress leader said.

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

The former President said, as a firm believer in the country’s institutions, it was his considered opinion that it is the ‘workmen’ who decide how the institutional ‘tools’ perform.

Mukherjee Monday at a book launch event had, however, praised the Election Commission for conducting the polls in a “perfect manner”.


Also read: Paranoid gathbandhan watchdogs are tracking EVMs with binoculars, walkie-talkies


EC under scanner

The Election Commission also came in for severe criticism from the opposition parties for allegedly not ensuring free and fair polls in the just-concluded Lok Sabha elections.

The opposition had slammed the poll panel for handing out several clean chits to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah for their election speeches.

One of the Election Commissioners, Ashok Lavasa, who stood up against the clean chits given to Modi and Shah, had even boycotted meetings as his dissent was not recorded in orders.

Opposition parties raise concerns over EVMs

Leaders of as many as 22 opposition parties met the Election Commission officials in the national capital Tuesday to raise concerns over reports of alleged tampering of voting machines.

Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader and Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien said in case of any mismatch with EVM figures, there should be 100 per cent counting of all VVPAT paper slips in that particular Assembly segment.

The parties that raised the EVM issue were the Congress, Telugu Desam Party, TMC, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Nationalist Congress Party, National Conference, Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Communist Party of India, among others.

The leaders also demanded the paper slips of VVPATs and EVM figures should be tallied in the beginning of the counting and not in the end, which is the current practice.


Also read: Congress puts plan in motion to guard EVMs as Priyanka Gandhi sends message of ‘hope’


 

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4 COMMENTS

  1. At the very least, counting of votes could have been taken up on 20th May. It is possible that repolling might take place for a few booths, but that should not hold up a subcontinental sized event. The very rationale for such an excruciatingly long exercise, not justified by logistics alone, is being questioned by so many neutral observers. Difficult to recall a single decision of the ECI as an institution that has drawn praise or commendation. Shri Ashok Lavasa alone has upheld its fine traditions.

  2. Supreme Court ignoring concerns about EVM is very bad for democracy of the country…. I am really amused how once left leaning Gogoi turned a centerist to currently leaning right.

  3. Only way to stop such compliacts is announce every one as winner. Losing side will always cry that EVM is hacked.

  4. One simple, legitimate request the ECI can and should accede to. Count more than five paper slips per Assembly constituency, if candidates demand it. If discrepancies are found, particularly in favour of the incumbent – a complaint that has sometimes been made in respect of defective EVMs as well – deal with it as demanded by the laws of statistics. A delay of a few or many hours in declaring the results is a trifle.

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