NCP chief Sharad Pawar wrote back to the Chief Election Commission Wednesday expressing regret over his “vote twice” remark and reiterated his stand that it was said in jest. Pawar’s statement asking headloaders to wipe the ink mark and vote twice had created a controversy and the Election Commission had asked him to explain his stand by Thursday evening.
NCP national spokesperson Nawab Mallik said Pawar, in his letter to the election commission, clarified that Sunday’s gathering was not a political campaign rally but a gathering of mathadi workers on the occasion of the death anniversary of Annasaheb Patil. “He (Pawar) also clarified that his intention was not to propagate bogus voting. We hope the election commission will take an appropriate decision on the matter,” Mallik said.
However, sources in the party said that Pawar, in the letter, accepted his mistake and urged the commission to end the matter. The election commission, acting on a complaint by BJP leader Kirit Somaiya, sent him a copy of the VCD carrying the speech he made in Navi Mumbai on Sunday. Pawar had asked his party workers to take advantage of the multi-phase polling in the state by voting twice, first at their hometowns and then at places of work.The election commission had found that Pawar had “prima facie” violated the model code of conduct.
However, Pawar was quick to clarify that his statement was not suggestive of any act in breach of electoral laws or rule. He had told reporters that his statement was made in “a lighter vein and had a tinge of satire to it.”
Sources in the NCP said, “They hope the EC will consider Pawar’s apology. As he has made it clear that though it was never intended to promote any bogus voting it could have been avoided. And that it would not be repeated.”