The Election Commission on Thursday warned Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar for saying voters should accept bribes, while speaking at a rally in Goa in January, ANI reported. The poll panel asked him to be more careful in the future.
Public addresses by people holding high constitutional positions that encourage “the act of bribe, even remotely”, are not acceptable, the Commission said. “...Your statements violate said norms, we advise you to be more careful and circumspect in future,” the commission told Parrikar.
On January 29, while campaigning in Goa for the Assembly elections, Parrikar had allegedly said it was okay for a voter to accept Rs 2,000 from someone. “There is no objection if someone roams there with Rs 500. But you should keep in mind that vote shall come to lotus only,” he had said in Konkani.
The Goa Forward Party had filed a complaint with the Election Commission against Parrikar’s comments. The party had also attached a video of the rally along with its complaint. On February 1, the EC had issued a show cause notice to the defence minister. Parrikar had, however, claimed that his speech was incorrectly translated from Konkani.
The poll panel in its notice on Thursday said it had checked the translation with a language expert and that the complaint was accurate.
In January, the Commission had ordered the filing of an FIR against Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal in connection with a similar set of bribery remarks. While campaigning in Goa on January 8, Kejriwal had similarly asked voters to accept money offered from other party candidates, but to vote only for the Aam Aadmi Party.