New Delhi: The Election Commission on Saturday expressed "displeasure" at Union Minister Nitin Gadkari's reported remarks asking voters to accept bribe during campaigning in Maharashtra Assembly polls.
Expressing "displeasure", EC said it expects Gadkari to be "more circumspect in your public utterances in future."
In its order, which also carried excerpts of Gadkari's response to the Commission's show cause notice, EC said "irrespective of whatever intentions you might have had, such statements clearly bring disrepute to the purity of our elections as well as the integrity of the democratic process."
The EC had earlier on Monday issued a show cause notice to Nitin Gadkari for "statements to the effect of inducing the voters to take bribe" during campaigning in Maharashtra Assembly polls.
EC had also said that Gadkari's statement amounts to "abetting and promoting the electoral offence of bribery" within the meaning of Section 171 B read with Section 17l E of the IPC as it includes offering food, drink or entertainment.
According to the English translation of the speech made by the former BJP president in Marathi, he had allegedly said: "Now, I am watching your faces and I have some skill of predicting the future by way of face reading. You have an opportunity of "Laxmi darshan" in next 10 days. Special people to get foreign made, ordinary people to get local brand...”
He further said, “All are Gandhivadis asking for Rs 5000. In these days of inflation, keep one thing in mind, eat what you wish and drink what you desire. Keep whatever you get. This is the time when illegally earned money can go to poor.”
“Therefore, do not say no to Laxmi. But think while you vote. Your vote should be for the development of Maharashtra," Gadkari added.
Assembly Elections in Maharashtra have been scheduled October 15.
With Agency inputs