The Election Commission of India has ruled that Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s remarks to accept money from other parties but to vote only for the ‘lotus’ is in violation of the norms and has ‘advised’ him to be more circumspect in the future.
The censure comes even as Parrikar continues to remain obstinate that the Election Commission as well as the media had misquoted him and on three occasions told the commission that he was incorrectly quoted and even sought a replay of the video in question in his presence.
“All leaders, especially those who occupy high constitutional positions, are expected to ensure and promote the sanctity of the electoral process. Public utterances by such persons which even remotely give the indication of condoning (the) act of accepting (a) bribe in connection with (the) election are not acceptable as it could amount to encouraging bribery in (the) election which, apart from being an electoral offence is also a corrupt practice,” the Election Commission said in its censure.
“The Commission finds that your above mentioned statements violate the said norms. Accordingly, the Commission advises you to be more circumspect and careful in the future,” the letter adds.
However Parrikar didn’t go down without a fight. The Commission has recorded that in his first reply to the election commission’s notice through his advocate Jai Anant Dehadrai, Parrikar said that “the original CD was in Konkani and the transcript sent to him was incorrect and appears to be deliberately twisted and then translated.”
In response the Commission, it examined the veracity of the transcript and confirmed that the CD was not tampered with and the entire speech was again transcribed this time by a three-member committee and the relevant portion was sent back to Parrikar.
Refusing to back down, Parrikar requested the commission to watch the CD “in his presence and in the presence of the three-member committee and also by inviting a person well versed in Konkani language who understands Konkani and who will be able to inform the Election Commission of its correct meaning.”
The Commission considered his request and the transcript of the entire speech was again obtained and translated by a Konkani language expert only for the Commission to observe that the various translations including that by the three member committee and the language expert “is substantially the same and does not contain any inaccuracy.”