Maharashtra-Haryana Assembly Elections

Onus on ensuring institutional integrity lies with EC: Pranab Mukherjee on 'unsecure' movement of EVMs

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 21 May 2019, 04:50 PM
Onus on ensuring institutional integrity lies with the EC: Pranab Mukherjee on 'unsecure' movement of EVMs
Onus on ensuring institutional integrity lies with the EC: Pranab Mukherjee on 'unsecure' movement of EVMs

Amid reports of EVMs being transported allegedly without security in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Bihar, former President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday said that it is the responsibility of the Election Commission to “ensure the institutional integrity”.

Amid reports of EVMs being transported allegedly without security in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Bihar, former President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday said that it is the responsibility of the Election Commission to “ensure the institutional integrity”.

In a statement, Mukherjee said: “I am concerned at the 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.”

Mukherjee's statement came after videos of alleged movement and tampering of EVMs went viral on social media, a charge dismissed by the Election Commission as "frivolous" and "unfounded".

“A firm believer in our institutions, it is my considered opinion that it is the ‘workmen’ who decide how the institutional ‘tools’ perform.”

“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,” he added in his statement.

Earlier, a video clip of EVMs being off-loaded and put in a room inside the counting centre complex in Chandauli was doing the rounds on social media. BJP's state unit president Mahendra Nath Pandey is seeking re-election from the seat.

Another video is from Ghazipur where SP-BSP alliance candidate Afzal Ansari is seen staging protest alleging that the administration was trying to change EVMs.

In the video, Ansari and his supporters were seen having a heated exchange with a police officer. The officer is urging them to clear the area, but the leader and his supporters refuse to budge, claiming there was an attempt to take out a vehicle loaded with EVMs.

Afzal Ansari is the brother of don-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari, who is serving sentence in Uttar Pradesh's Banda jail in connection with various criminal cases and is pitted against Union Minister Manoj Sinha of the BJP.

Ansari also demanded that at least two BSP workers must be issued passes to sit near the premises where EVMs were kept in strong rooms at five different places.

Chief Electoral Officer of the state Venkateshwarlu allayed fears of political parties.

Referring to the Ghazipur incident, he said the candidate wanted more number of people to keep a watch on EVMs on the basis of his apprehensions and the DM there has satisfied him and those staging protest have returned.

On Chandauli, he said the issue pertains to unused EVMs which had been brought back and after talks they were kept separately from the used ones kept in the strong room.

There are CCTV cameras installed in strong rooms. Candidates are allowed to keep a watch on strong rooms through their representatives. All apprehensions are unfounded, he said.

"EVMS and VVPATs were sealed properly in front of political party candidates. CCTV cameras are installed ... One representative of each candidate is present. The allegations are baseless,” an EC report said.

On Chandauli, the EC report said, "Frivolous allegation by some people as EVMs are in proper security and protocol. 

“A firm believer in our institutions, it is my considered opinion that it is the ‘workmen’ who decide how the institutional ‘tools’ perform.”

“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,” he added in his statement.

First Published: Tuesday, May 21, 2019 03:24 PM
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