Election Commission directs Kejriwal not to ask voters to take bribe

The poll panel “warned” him that it will be “constrained to take stern action against you in the event of any further violation”.

January 27, 2015 08:13 pm | Updated November 17, 2021 02:03 am IST - New Delhi

Four days after it censured Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal for violation of the Model Code of Conduct and asked him to be more circumspect in his public utterances, the Election Commission on Tuesday told him to “desist” from making such statements, failing which it would be “constrained to take stern action” against him.

The EC was referring to Mr Kejriwal’s exhorting voters in his >election speeches for the Delhi >assembly to take bribes if offered by the BJP and Congress but to vote for his AAP .

The EC’s warning to the AAP supremo came on a day when both the AAP’s political rivals, the BJP and the Congress, demanded that Mr Kejriwal's nomination be cancelled.

If the BJP slammed Mr Kejriwal for “defaming” the party by accusing it of bribing voters, the Congress said he had “cheated” the people by declaring a false address in his nomination papers.

But if the Congress and the BJP have mounted an offensive against the AAP, Janata Dal-United chief Sharad Yadav last week came to his defence, saying Mr Kejriwal was just warning voters against the use of money power and that the EC’s censure notice was “unjustified”.

Evidently, Mr Kejriwal’s AAP is mounting a formidable challenge in the Delhi assembly elections, enough for the BJP and the Congress to take him seriously. Indeed, this is despite the fact that these parties had publicly written him off, saying that anyone who quit as chief minister after 49 days was unlikely to win the people’s trust again.

"Today we came to the EC to complain against Kejriwal for misleading the people of Delhi,” Delhi BJP chief Satish Upadhyay told journalists, “by accusing parties of bribing voters. We have demanded cancellation of his candidature and banning him from giving any speech.”

Simultaneously, the Congress' Kiran Walia asked the EC to remove Mr Kejriwal’s name from the electoral rolls and bar him from contesting elections.

After resigning as CM, Mr Kejriwal had shifted from Tilak Lane to Kaushambi (Ghaziabad), but Ms Walia said, he applied for a voter card citing Vittalbhai Patel House as his address: the EC rejected this, saying it was his office, not his residence. Subsequently, he gave an address in BK Dutt Colony that the EC accepted. But the Congress has told the EC that this, too, is an AAP office.

The BJP has also complained to the EC about the use of photographs of its CM candidate Kiran Bedi on AAP posters, with the caption “opportunist” beneath them. Ms Bedi has also sent a legal notice to Mr Kejriwal on this issue.

Finally, the BJP has also objected to the AAP pasting opinion polls on the backs of auto rickshaws.

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