Cong backs Khurshid on quota issue
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Last Updated: Monday, January 16, 2012, 21:49
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 EC.

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

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.


First Published: Monday, January 16, 2012, 21:49

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