New Delhi: With Law Minister Salman Khurshid
raking up a controversy over "administrative control" of
Election Commission, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has assured
the poll body that the government is committed to upholding
its functional autonomy guaranteed by the Constitution.
Khurshid had ruffled feathers by saying in a TV
interview that the Law Ministry has control over the Election
Commission, prompting Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi
to write to the Prime Minister on December 29, last year.
Writing back to Quraishi on January 5, the Prime Minister
has said, "Let me assure you that our government is fully
committed to uphold the functional autonomy that the
Constitution guarantees to the Election Commission."
Quraishi, when asked about the exchange of letters today,
refused to discuss it but dismissed suggestions that it was
getting personal between him and Khurshid.
"It is a very ridiculous idea. We are friends otherwise,
personally. It is just an institutional issue," he said.
Khurshid, while making the statement, was talking in the
context of Team Anna`s objection to CBI being retained under
government control under the Lokpal Bill when he said "every
institution is under some control".
This is the second time in recent days that Khurshid has
drawn the EC`s ire.
The Commission had on Tuesday served show cause notice on
the minister for promising 9 per cent sub-quota for minorities
in UP while campaigning for his wife Louise in Farrukhabad on
The minister has denied having violated the Model Code of
Conduct, saying the promise was made by the Congress in its
manifesto released in the run-up to the 2009 Lok Sabha polls.
The EC is yet to take a decision on it.