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Arvind Kejriwal denies bribery charge ahead of Punjab polls

IANS | Chandigarh |

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday denied charges of promoting bribery by asking voters to take money from other parties and vote for the AAP in Punjab and Goa.

The Aam Aadmi Party leader also told the media here that former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu's decision to join the Congress won't have any impact on the Punjab assembly battle.

Kejriwal was asked to respond to an Election Commission notice that he appealed to Goa voters to take the money offered by other political parties but vote for the AAP. The BJP complained to the poll panel.

He said he had faced similar allegations ahead of the Delhi assembly elections of 2015 too and the court ruled in his favour saying he was not encouraging bribery.

Sidhu "will make no difference" to the February 4 election to pick a 117-seat Punjab assembly, Kejriwal said.

A former BJP MP, Sidhu has joined the Congress after initially toying with the idea of entering the AAP. "Sidhu has lost all significance," the AAP leader said.

Kejriwal reiterated that Punjab Congress chief Captain Amarinder Singh had decided to contest from Lambi constituency too so as to cut the anti-Akali votes and thus help Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

"Our candidate Jarnail Singh's campaign was going great in Lambi. So Badal requested Amarinder (Singh) to contest from Lambi so that the anti-Akali votes will get split."

Kejriwal demanded to know why Amarinder Singh, also contesting from his traditional Patiala seat, had suddenly decided to take on Badal at Lambi when he had never done so for three decades.

"Until now the Akalis used to field weak candidates against the Congress leaders and vice-versa. For the first time, the AAP has fielded its senior leadership against the Akalis."

It was not only important to defeat the Akali leaders politically but to prosecute them too for their crimes, Kejriwal said.

Kejriwal is the poster boy of the AAP in Punjab. He again stated on Tuesday that the party will elect a Chief Minister only after winning the election.

The three main contestants in Punjab are the ruling Akali Dal-BJP coalition, the main opposition Congress party and the AAP, a first timer.