NEW DELHI: The Election Commission Saturday said that Rural Development Minister Nitin Gadkari's poll speech in Maharashtra "encouraged the voters to accept inducements" and cautioned him to be "more circumspect" in future.
The Bharatiya Janata Party leader at a poll rally had made statements inducing voters to take bribes if offered by someone and then decide how to vote.
The electoral watchdog, which had issued notice Oct 6 to Gadkari for violating the model code of conduct, said that his statements "clearly bring disrepute to the purity of our elections as well as the integrity of the democratic process".
"The Commission conveys its displeasure to you and expects you to be more circumspect in your public utterances in future," a statement said here.
Earlier in his reply to the Commission, Gadkari clarified that "the entire tenor of my speech was to denigrate any attempt to allure/induce the voters through any unlawful means."
"This was done by me through humour and sarcasm. I would urge you to consider carefully the humorous tone in which I spoke the relevant words and contrast this with the serious note on which I exhorted the people of Maharashtra to exercise their vote in the interest of Maharashtra."