Cong backs Khurshid on quota issue

Party sources said SY Quraishi and the other two Election Commissioners will hear the matter on January 19.

New Delhi: Congress has put its weight
behind Law Minister Salman Khurshid by approaching the
Election Commission in the wake of its notice to him for
announcing plans to increase sub quota for backward
minorities in Uttar Pradesh.

A delegation of senior Congress leaders led by party
general secretary Digvijay Singh met the poll body during
which party spokesperson and senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi
gave a "short and succint summary" of the party`s objections
to the notice.

Party sources said that the Chief Election Commissioner S
Y Quraishi and the other two Election Commissioners will hear
the matter on January 19.

"We have given very strong points in view of the notice
given to Salman Khurshid," Singhvi said after meeting the EC.

Singhvi, a lawyer himself, who went on behalf of
Khurshid to take up the matter with EC, said a more detailed
hearing in this regard will be held in the near future after a
week or two weeks.

The Congress leaders, accompanying Singhvi to the
Election Commission, is also indicative of the party firming
up its position on the issue.

Political parties are going all out to woo the minority
votes in poll-bound UP.

On Friday, the party had distanced itself from Khurshid`s
remarks dubbing them as his "individual" views. The very next
day, the party took a U turn saying it favoured further
increase in job quotas for backward minorities in UP and that
it felt that the decision on 4.5 percent sub quota for
backward minorities should not have been put on hold by the

The EC has put the government decision on hold in all
the five election-bound states till the completion of the poll

The allies assured the PPP that they will fully back the
resolution expressing confidence in the government to be taken
up in parliament.

The resolution was introduced last week in the backdrop
of the simmering row between the government and the powerful
military over the memo scandal that had sought US help the
avert a military coup in Pakistan after the killing of Osama
bin Laden in May last year.

Law Minister Maula Bux Chandio told reporters that the
issuance of the contempt notice by the Supreme Court to Gilani
was not an ordinary matter.

The government will examine the notice and respond in
accordance with the law and the Constitution, he said.

Incidentally, the notice to Gilani marks only the second
time that contempt of court procedures have been initiated
against a sitting Pakistani prime minister.

Earlier in November 1997, then premier Nawaz Sharif was
also found in contempt in a case.

A Supreme Court-appointed panel is also probing the memo
issue and held a hearing today that remained inconclusive.

The Supreme Court today issued the order against the
premier after the government`s top law officer informed it
that he had received no instructions regarding the order to
reopen the corruption cases.

The court rebuked Attorney General Anwar-ul-Haq for
failing to present the government`s response to its orders to
write to Swiss authorities to reopen cases of alleged money
laundering against President Zardari.


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