The Election Commission on Thursday rebuked Defence Minister and senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Manohar Parrikar for his controversial statement on bribery that he made in a campaign speech during the ongoing Goa polls. In a letter, EC warned Parrikar to be more careful in future before making such statements that encourage bribery in electoral process. The official letter also informed Parrikar that the CD which was obtained for reference was not tampered in any manner and was checked by a three-member committee.
Parrikar had claimed that his speech which was made in Konkani language and the words were not translated correctly. But the EC letter says that the CD was transcribed by a language expert along with the three-member committee. The relevant portion from Parrikar’s speech is reproduced as: “…Now also someone will give you Rs 1,000… We give Rs 1,500 every month. After five years, 1,500 will become 90,000 and this will also increase. Today, take from anyone Rs 2,000 and vote for them… There is no problem if somebody roams around by taking Rs 500 but just vote for the Lotus.”
Here is the copy of the letter from Election Commission to Manohar Parrikar:
Parrikar was speaking in Konkani language, and was reported by the District Electoral Officer of North Goa. The EC had sent a notice to Parrikar and sought his explanation by February 3. Warning Parrikar about the provisions of the Model Code for elections, it said his statement amounted to ‘abetting and promoting electoral offence of bribery’.
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The Defence Minister had purportedly told the EC panel that his words were wrongly translated and thus wants to watch the CD in his presence and in the presence of the three-member committee and also by inviting a person well verse in Konkani language.