The Commission said it was not satisfied with the explanation furnished by the AAP leader
The Election Commission has pulled up Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convenor Arvind Kejriwal for violating the provisions of the model code of conduct that banned appeal for votes based on religion, and warned him to be more careful during the election campaigns in the future.
It was acting on the complaint of BJP leader Harish Khurana, who alleged that Mr. Kejriwal, during the campaign for the December 4, 2013, Delhi Assembly poll, distributed pamphlets that contained appeal on religious grounds to the electors in violation of poll code.
The Commission – Chief Election Commissioner V.S. Sampath and Election Commissioners H.S. Brahma and S.N.A. Zaidi – which considered the issue and also the reply given by the Delhi CM stated that: “Whereas, notwithstanding the averments made by you to justify the contents of the pamphlets, the fact remains that you have made an appeal in that pamphlet to a particular religious community for securing votes in favour of your party, which, the Commission considers, is violation of sub para (3) of Para I of model code of conduct..”
“..the Commission is not satisfied with the explanation furnished by you..”
and “…the Commission hereby conveys its concern, and cautions you to be more careful in the election campaigns of your party in future”.
Earlier, the EC took serious view of Mr. Kejriwal’s decision to send the reply, signed by AAP national secretary Pankaj Kumar Gupta, and he was directed to send the reply under his own signature. The direction was complied with by the CM.
In his reply, Mr. Kejriwal denied that he had violated the poll code and sought to justify that the contents of the pamphlets were based on the Justice Sachhar Committee report of 2006, Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission’s report and on the facts said to be established by various judicial pronouncements.
He told the Commission that the contents of the pamphlet, when read as a whole, would show that his whole emphasis was to address issues concerning the common citizens at an individual, group, locality, constituency and community level, as a part of its philosophy of democratic decentralization and the pamphlet was part of the exercise on maintenance and promotion of communal harmony and unity and had not been made with a view to creating any hatred or tension between different communities.
However, the Commission rejected his arguments.
In his Hindi pamphlet, the AAP leader had said: “Delhi’s Muslims should support AAP in the forthcoming polls. We (AAP) are not seeking votes for power or money but for rooting out corruption from the system and building a corruption-free India where people belonging to all religions can live in peace. BJP is a communal party. Till now the Muslims did not have any alternative, but now they have an honest alternative in the form of AAP. We appeal to the Muslim voters of Delhi to back our endeavour for clean politics and not fall into the trap in which they have been falling for the past 65 years.”