The Election Commission today let off Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar with a light rap for his bribery remarks by asking him to be “more circumspect and careful” in future.
Rejecting claims of the senior BJP leader that the CD carrying his purported remarks has been tampered with and that the translation of his statement from Konkani to English is faulty, the Commission said leaders should be careful in their public utterances.
“…there is no objection, if someone roams there with Rs 500. But you should keep in mind that vote shall come to lotus (BJP’s election symbol) only,” the Commission order quoted Parrikar as saying on January 29 in Chimbel, Goa while addressing a public rally.
Assembly elections in Goa were held on 4 February.
The poll panel said all leaders, especially those who occupy high constitutional positions, are expected to ensure and promote the sanctity of electoral process.
“Public utterances by such persons which even remotely give the indication of condoning act of accepting bribe in connection with election are not acceptable as it could amount to encouraging bribery in election which, apart from being an electoral offence, is also a corrupt practice,” the election watchdog told the Union minister.
It, however, said that Parrikar’s remarks violated the norms.
Goa Forward Party and AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal had approached the Commission against Parrikar.
Contrary to what many say a slap on the wrist for Parrikar, the election commission had ordered filing of FIR against Kejriwal for the same remarks on 29 January.
Using an incredibly harsh language against the Delhi chief minister, the EC had said, “Being Chief Minister of Delhi and a star campaigner of AAP in Goa, he is expected to conduct in an exemplary manner in election campaigns in a law abiding manner so as to be a role model for others to emulate but he has on several occasions violated provisions of MCC by breaking his assurance to EC…
“The Commission directs that necessary legal action be initiated by filing an FIR/complaint against Arvind Kejriwal for the statements…compliance report in this regard should be sent to the Commission latest by 3.00 PM on January 31,” the poll panel had said.
Many would detect a glaring irony in the approach of a constitutional body, which is expected to function with impartiality without any biases towards the ruling political party.
(With PTI inputs)