Former President Pranab Mukherjee | source: twitter

A day after praising the Election Commission, Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday expressed concerns about alleged EVM tampering saying that it is EC’s prime responsibility to put all speculation regarding EVMs to an end.

“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”, the former President of India said in a statement issued.

 “I am concerned at reports of alleged tampering of voters’ verdict”, he said suggesting that “there can be no room for speculations that challenge the very basis of a democracy”.
However, a day earlier, he had lauded the Election Commission saying that the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections were conducted in a “perfect” manner.

On Monday, Mukherjee said, “If we want to strengthen institutions, we have to keep in mind that institutions are serving well in this country, and if democracy has succeeded, it’s largely due to the perfect conduct of elections by all Election Commissioners starting from Sukumar Sen to the present Election Commissioners.”
Mukherjee, who was the India’s Finance Minister in the Congress-led UPA government before being elected as the country’s 13th President in 2012 had further heaped praises on EC, saying, “All are appointed by the executive and they are doing their job well. You can’t criticise them. It was perfect conduct of the elections.”
He also hailed the manner in which the country participated in the electoral process. “As many as 67.3% participated in this Lok Sabha election — that’s more than 2/3rd. And after many years, I got to cast my vote in a booth as citizen Pranab Mukherjee,” he said.
The U-turn in Pranab Mukherjee’s comments is significant, especially as elections results are expected in less than 36 hours. His comments have come in the wake of reports and videos from various parts of the country, which allegedly show attempts to tamper the voting machines.
The opposition parties have consistently insisted and pleaded to the EC over such alleged tampering of EVMs.
On Sunday Congress chief Rahul Gandhi attacked the Election Commission in a tweet saying:  “From electoral bonds and EVMs to manipulating the election schedule, NaMo TV, Modi’s Army and now the drama in Kedarnath; the Election Commission’s capitulation before Mr Modi and his gang is obvious to all Indians. The EC used to befeared & respected. Not anymore.”

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