New Delhi, May 21: A day after praising the Election Commission for smoothly conducting polls in the nation since 1951, former President Pranab Mukherjee issued a contradictory statement, saying that the onus is on the polling body to clear the air on charges of "EVM tampering" levelled by the Opposition.
Expressing concern over the allegations of tampering and unescorted movement of EVMs to and from strongrooms, Mukherjee said the EC should take immediate measures to clear the controversy. If unchecked, such speculations could challenge voters' confidence in a democracy, the ex-President said. Opposition Fears EVM Tampering in North India After Controversial Video Surfaces.
"I am concerned at reports of alleged tampering of voter’s verdict. The safety and security of the EVMs, which are in the custody of ECI, is the responsibility of the commission," he said.
"There can be no room for speculations that challenge the very basis of a democracy. People’s mandate is sacrosanct and has to be above any iota of reasonable doubt," added the statement issued by him. Pranab Earlier Defended EC on EVM Row.
Mukherjee further added that the strength of an institution also depends on the functioning of the office-bearers.
"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, amid charges of "surrendering to the government" levelled against the current Chief Election Commissioner by a section of the Opposition.
"The onus of ensuring institutional integrity in this case lies with the Election Commission of India. They must do so and put all speculations to rest," the former President added.