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New Delhi: Willy nilly, former President Pranab Mukherjee has settled himself in a public disagreement surrounding the electronic voting machines (EVM). While admiring the “perfect conduct of the elections" on Monday, Mukherjee today said the Election Commission of India must put all their speculations to rest.

“Institutions are fine, and these institutions are built over the years. I do believe only a bad workman quarrels with his tools. A good workman knows how to utilise these tools," said Mukerjee at the launch of ‘Defining India Through Their Eyes’, a book by NDTV's Editorial Director Sonia Singh.

His hint seemed to be a reference to the ongoing EC where Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa is locked in a war of words with colleague Sushil Chandra and Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora.

Lavasa has differed with his two colleagues on the clean chits given to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and others over some speeches made during the election campaign. Lavasa wanted his differences to be recorded and made part of the order. As per the set norms and reiterated in a 2:1 majority view by the Election Commission, the dissent is recorded but not made part of the order.

But Mukherjee seemed to revise his views a day after complimenting the EC. “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," he said in a statement issued by his office and posted on his Twitter handle.

Going by the exit polls released Sunday, the Opposition is staring at another defeat and with it the noise over the EVMs being prone to hacking is reaching a crescendo. While varying significantly in their estimates, all exit polls have forecast a victory for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democractic Alliance. The estimates varied between 242 and 365 seats for the ruling combine.
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