Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Delhi elections 2015: 'Stern action' if you repeat bribery remark one more time, EC warns Kejriwal..........

NEW DELHI: Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal could risk being barred from the Delhi campaign if he repeats his 'bribery' remark one more time. The Election Commission on Tuesday, while terming his repeated appeals to voters "to take money from all parties but vote for AAP" as a violation of the model code of conduct, warned him of "stern action" if he reiterated the utterances "in all forms of election campaign from today (January 27, 2015), 7 pm onwards".

Though the EC order was silent on what this "stern action" could be, the precedents of SP leader Azam Khan and BJP's Amit Shah being barred from the Lok Sabha poll campaign in UP last year for their repeated communal references, leave little doubt about what may be in store for Kejriwal.

Incidentally, Tuesday's warning to the former Delhi chief minister came despite his undertaking to the Commission that he would desist from instigating voters to accept money, in case EC disapproves of the same, while the model code is in force. "I respect the EC. I have great regard for the Constitution and laws. I will not break the law under any circumstance. If the Commission does not approve of my appeal, I will desist from repeating it until the model code is in force," he assured in his January 24 reply to the EC notices sent to him on January 21 and 23.

The notices were issued after the Congress approached the Commission against Kejriwal's January 18 speech in Uttam Nagar assembly constituency. A couple of days later, the BJP complained against a speech made by him in Krishna Nagar on January 20. In both the speeches, Kejriwal had appealed to the voters to accept money from both the BJP and Congress, but vote only for AAP.

Taking serious note of his repeating the "bribery" remark despite two EC notices and a January 23 order asking him to be more circumspect in his future public utterances, the Commission on Tuesday said it considered his statement to be a violation of sub para (4) of Para I of the model poll code and of Section 171B, read with Section 171E, of the Indian Penal Code, and also a corrupt practice under Section 123(1) of the Representation of the People's Act, 1951.

According to sub para (4) of Para I of the poll code, parties and candidates should scrupulously avoid all activities which are 'corrupt practices' and offences under the election law, such as bribing of voters.

"In view of....(Kejriwal's) undertaking and aforesaid violations of the model code by you...the Commission hereby directs you to desist from making these utterances in all forms of election campaign by you from today (January 27), 7 pm onwards....You are hereby warned that the Commission shall be constrained to take stern action against you in the event of further violation," the EC stated in its order. 

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