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EC Issues Notice to Nitin Gadkari for ‘Inducing Voters to Take Bribe’

A show cause notice has been issued to Union Minister Nitin Gadkari for "statements to the effect of inducing the voters to take bribe" while campaigning in the Maharashtra Assemby polls by Election Commission, on Monday.
Gadkari is asked to respond for the notice by Wednesday, holding that the statements prima facie violated the provisions of the Model Code of Conduct, failing which the poll body will take a decision without further reference to the BJP leader.
The issue is regarding his objectionable view that came in during his speech at an election rally in Latur while campaigning for a BJP candidate there.
According to reports, in the notice, the EC said district electoral officer of Latur (Maharashtra) had informed the poll watchdog that Gadkari, while addressing a public meeting in Nilenga assembly constituency yesterday, allegedly made "statements to the effect of inducing the voters to take bribe if offered by someone and then decide how to vote".
The EC mentioned in the notice, "The Commission has received emails from the local observers that during the speech in Nilanga constituency in Latur on October 5 you made statements to the effect of inducing voters to take bribe if offered by someone and then decided on vote."
According to the Commission, Gadkari 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 brands…”
He continued, "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."
EC said that his 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.

[Nitin Gadkari, Election Commission, Show cause, Election campaign, Maharashtra assembly polls, BJP, Latur]

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