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‘Make me brand ambassador instead’: Kejriwal to EC after censure over ‘bribe’ remarks

Days after being censured by the Election Commission for his bribe remarks in poll-bound Goa, AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal today said he was trying to end corruption and should be made a brand ambassador by the poll panel.
India TV Politics Desk New Delhi January 23, 2017 20:17 IST
India TV Politics Desk

Days after being censured by the Election Commission for his “bribe” remarks in poll-bound Goa, Aam Admi Party convener Arvind Kejriwal today said he was trying to end corruption and should be made a brand ambassador by the poll panel.  

In a letter to Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi, Kejriwal said his comments were misinterpreted by the poll body alleging its order against him was encouraging corruption.  

"By stopping me to say what I am saying, the Election Commission is not stopping corruption, but encouraging it. I hope you (the EC) will re-examine this.” 

At a rally in Goa, Kejriwal had asked voters in Goa to take money from political parties, but vote only for AAP. 

"Through this comment, I am trying to stop bribery. In fact, the Election Commission should make me its brand ambassador," Kejriwal said in the letter to CEC, which he posted on social media. 

"I hope you (the EC) will review the issue and will allow me repeat my comments," he said. 

On Saturday, Kejriwal was censured by the EC for his his remarks and was warned of strong action, including derecognition of AAP, if the Delhi Chief Minister repeated his comments. 

The EC had said his statement amounted to "abetting and promoting electoral offence of bribery".  

Kejriwal claimed that he was trying to end corruption through his remarks and that the EC can publicise his statement to deal with bribery and corruption during elections. 

"We have shown this in Delhi election. People took money from BJP and Congress, but voted for us. If the Election Commission uses my statement and propagates it then in two years, the political parties will stop distributing notes," Kejriwal said.

He also said the EC has not been able to stop corruption in the last 70 years and if his remarks were used, then bribery during polls can be ended in two years. 

"A court in Delhi had ruled that a similar statement I made earlier does not amount to bribery," he said in the letter.

Kejriwal ended the letter saying that he was making it public as the issue is of public interest.  

"Because this is a very important issue of public interest, I am making this letter public so that a wide discussion takes place on this in the country," he said.  

BJP reacted strongly to Kejriwal's letter to the EC, saying it "denigrated" the poll watchdog and the entire election process.
 

"Kejriwal, a self-proclaimed Chief Justice of Indian politics who also has a constitution bench of corrupt ministers, has again and again repeated his bribery remarks. By doing this he is not only denigrating the credibility of Election Commission but also the entire voting process," BJP spokesman Sambit Patra said.  

By asking voters to accept bribe, Kejriwal is instigating the people to engage in corruption, against which his entire politics is based, Patra told reporters here.  

"Kejriwal wants to be Delhi Chief Minister on odd days, Punjab Chief Minister on even days and Goa Chief Minister on holidays. But, now when his desire to become chief minister of three states at the same time has shattered, he is frustrated and saying all this," Patra said, using Delhi government's road rationing scheme to target him over AAP's ambitious electoral campaign in Punjab and Goa.