Quota row: Congress backs Khurshid; action unlikely

Sources in the Prime Minister’s Office said that action against Law Minister Salman Khurshid was unlikely.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: A day after the Election Commission complained to President Pratibha Patil over Salman Khurshid’s defiant stand on quota for backward Muslims in Uttar Pradesh, sources in the
Prime Minister’s Office said that action against the Law Minister was unlikely.

According to sources, the PM was unlikely to act as the matter was more political than administrative.

Meanwhile, Congress spokesperson Janardan Dwivedi said such comments against a constitutional body like the Election Commission should be avoided.

The party however maintained that Khurshid had done nothing wrong.

Speaking to mediapersons in Lucknow, senior Congress leader and Khurshid’s representative, Abid Hussain maintained that the Law Minister’s views were in-sync with the Congress’ stance on the issue.

"Whatever Salman Khurshid has said in his campaigns is in accordance with the Congress’ stance in the election manifesto. If we cannot convey and discuss the provisions laid down in our manifesto with the masses, then what is the use of our leaders going to public meetings?" said Hussain.

Echoing similar views, senior Congress leader Sriprakash Jaiswal remained on the defensive, stressing that the party was keen to hold discussions on the issue of minority reservation on the basis of latest Census statistics.

"As far as I am aware, Mr Salman Khurshid has said nothing wrong. He has spoken about providing additional reservation to Muslims, and has also said that discussions pertaining to this will be held when the latest Census data is made available.

During a recent poll campaign in northern Uttar Pradesh, Khurshid had said if the Congress party was voted to power in the state, the sub-quota for Muslims would be increased to nine per cent within the 27 per cent reservation meant for Other Backward Classes (OBC).

However, the Election Commission slapped Khurshid with a notice, saying his remarks had violated the model code of conduct.

The EC was even forced to seek the President`s immediate and decisive intervention, after a defiant Khurshid said he would continue to pursue nine percent reservation for minorities (Muslims) "even if they (the Election Commission) hang me".

The poll body wrote the defiance and aggression by the minister of the Constitutional body was "unprecedented" and his "improper and unlawful action" had strained the delicate balance of powers among Constitutional authorities.

Following the development, the Opposition demanded Khurshid’s resignation.

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