EC issues notice to Kejriwal for bribe speech; second in row

New Delhi: The Election Commission (EC) today issued a showcause notice, the second in last three days, to Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal for "prima facie" violation of the poll code by allegedly making a speech where he asked voters to take bribes from BJP and Congress but only vote for his party.

The EC notice said the statement, made during a public rally on January 18 in Uttam Nagar here, amounts to "abetting and promoting electoral offence of bribery" under relevant sections of the Representation of People Act read with provisions of the IPC.

Arvind Kejriwal
AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal

The public speech made by Kejriwal that invited the EC's ire was: "it's election time. When people both from BJP and Congress come offering money, don't refuse, accept...some have looted money from 2G, some have looted money from coal scam...Take money from both the parties but vote for AAP.

"We will fool them this time. They have been deceiving us for the last 65 years. Now it's our turn," he had said.

The notice said the poll panel "prima facie" was of the opinion that by making the said statement Kejriwal has "violated the model code of conduct" which is in force in the national capital in view of the forthcoming Assembly polls on February 7.

The Commission said it had received complaints in this regard from political parties after which it asked the Chief Electoral Officer of Delhi to submit a CD of the speech made for review by it.

The EC has asked Kejriwal to respond and present his side by 4pm on Thursday failing which the poll body "shall take a decision without any further reference" to him. It said the Model Code of Conduct(MCC) envisages that parties and candidates participating in the electoral fray shall "avoid scrupulously all activities which are corrupt practices and offences under the election law, such as bribing of voters...."

Earlier on January 17, Kejriwal was issued a showcause notice by the EC for "prima facie" violating the MCC with his remarks alleging that BJP is trying to incite communal violence in the capital city.

The deadline for his reply to this notice is today. Meanwhile, accepting Kejriwal's request, the Election Commission gave him three more days to respond to its earlier showcause notice issued on January 17.

The Commission had issued the showcause notice on January 17 to the AAP leader for prima facie violating the Model Code of Conduct with his remarks alleging that BJP is trying to incite communal violence in the capital city.

The EC had given Kejriwal time till 3 PM today to respond to the showcause, failing which the poll body will take a decision without any further reference to him. Following his request, EC decided to extend the time for reply and has asked him to respond by January 23 morning.

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