Pranab Mukherjee hails EC, says polls were conducted 'perfectly'
The EC has been criticised by the opposition parties for being allegedly biased towards the BJP
At a time when the Election Commission is under fire from opposition parties for being biased, former president Pranab Mukherjee on Monday lauded the role of the poll panel saying the 2019 Lok Sabha polls were conducted "perfectly".
Speaking at a book launch event, he said that right from the first election commissioner Sukumar Sen to the present election commissioners, the institution is working very well. He said all the three commissioners are appointed by the executive and they are doing their job well.
Mukherjee said, "you cannot criticise them, it was perfect conduct of elections".
"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," Mukherjee said at the launch of the book 'Defining India: Through Their Eyes' by Sonia Singh.
His remarks come a day after Congress president Rahul Gandhi alleged that the Election Commission's "capitulation" before Prime Minister Narendra Modi is obvious and the poll watchdog is not feared and respected anymore.
The EC has been criticised by the opposition parties for being allegedly biased towards the BJP.
The opposition stepped up its criticism of the poll panel after Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa wrote to the Chief Election Commissioner stating he will be recusing himself from EC meetings as his dissent was not being recorded on clearances given by the poll panel to the PM and BJP chief Amit Shah over alleged poll code violations.
Mukherjee, who was speaking at a book launch function, said, "There is some doubt about the functioning of the Election Commission during these elections. There should be a different method of choosing the members of the Commission. There may be some viewpoints."
"Sukumar Sen was appointed by the executive. All the Election Commissioners have been appointed by the executives till date. All the judges of the higher judiciary are appointed by the Prime Minister and Law Minister. Till 1991, they were appointed with the consultation of the Chief Justice of Supreme Court. Now the judgment of the Supreme Court has been changed that it will be done by the collegium in consultation with the Prime Minister and Cabinet...," he said.
He added, "I don't think we have tried to make some improvement by having a different mode by a committee consisting of Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition and the representation of higher judiciary in some appointment to sensitive posts. To what extent we can be able to improve the quality of the functioning by changing the mode of the appointment."
One of the Election Commissioners, Ashok Lavasa even boycotted the full commission meetings protesting against the non-recording of his dissent on the clean chits to Modi and Shah. There have been demands for making a collegium to select the Election Commissioners instead of the government appointing them.
Edited by mid-day online desk with inputs from Agencies
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