The Election Commission on Thursday advised Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to be more “circumspect and careful” in his public speeches when the model code of conduct is in force. The poll panel observed that Parrikar had indeed violated the model code of conduct.
“All leaders, especially those who occupy high constitutional positions, are expected to ensure and promote the sanctity of electoral process. Public utterances by such persons which even remotely give the indication of condoning the act of accepting bribe in connection with the election are not acceptable as it could amount to encouraging bribery in election,” the EC order said, adding that apart from being an electoral offence, it was also a corrupt practice.
The EC’s advisory comes against the backdrop of Parrikar’s comments in an election rally in Goa where he allegedly encouraged voters to accept bribes. At a rally in Chimbel on January 29, he had allegedly said that voters should accept money from other political parties to attend their election rallies, but they should vote for “lotus” (BJP’s poll symbol). Acting on a complaint filed by the Goa Forward Party, the EC had issued a showcause notice to Parrikar on February 1.