Unfazed by poll panel censure, Kejriwal wants to be its brand ambassador

Cocking a snook at the Election Commission after it censured him for asking voters in Goa to accept bribe from other parties but vote for his Aam Admi Party, a defiant Arvind Kejriwal today demanded that the commission panel allow him to repeat his comments as they were aimed at checking graft.

The Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convenor also suggested that he be made the EC's ''brand ambassador'' for his efforts to check bribery in polls.

''By stopping me to say what I am saying, the Election Commission is not stopping corruption, but encouraging it. I hope you (the EC) will re-examine this.

''Through this comment, I am trying to stop bribery. In fact, the Election Commission should make me its brand ambassador,'' Kejriwal said in a letter to Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi.

''I hope you (the EC) will review the issue and will allow me repeat my comments,'' he said, two days after he was censured by the commission, which warned of strong action, including derecognition of AAP, if the Delhi Chief Minister repeated his comments.

The Bharatiya Janata Party reacted strongly to Kejriwal's letter to the EC, saying it ''denigrated'' the poll watchdog and the entire election process.

''Kejriwal, a self-proclaimed Chief Justice of Indian politics who also has a constitution bench of corrupt ministers, has again and again repeated his bribery remarks. By doing this he is not only denigrating the credibility of Election Commission but also the entire voting process,'' BJP spokesman Sambit Patra said.

By asking voters to accept bribes, Kejriwal is instigating the people to engage in corruption, against which his entire politics is based, Patra told reporters here.

The EC, while censuring Kejriwal had said his statement amounted to ''abetting and promoting electoral offence of bribery''.

''Kejriwal wants to be Delhi Chief Minister on odd days, Punjab Chief Minister on even days and Goa Chief Minister on holidays. But, now when his desire to become chief minister of three states at the same time has shattered, he is frustrated and saying all this,'' Patra said, using Delhi government's road rationing scheme to target him over AAP's ambitious electoral campaign in Punjab and Goa.

Kejriwal said the EC can publicise his statement to deal with bribery and corruption during elections.

''We have shown this in Delhi election. People took money from BJP and Congress, but voted for us. If the Election Commission uses my statement and propagates it, then in two years, the political parties will stop distributing notes,'' Kejriwal said.

He also said the EC has not been able to stop corruption in the last 70 years and if his remarks were used for anti-bribery propaganda during polls, the menace can be ended in two years.

''A court in Delhi had ruled that a similar statement I made earlier does not amount to bribery,'' he said in the letter.