New Delhi: The Congress party Monday said it would reply to the Election Commission on Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma`s sub-quota comment within the stipulated time, adding that there was no intent to disrespect the commission.
Talking to reporters after meeting Verma, party leader and spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said the party expected a "balanced view" from the commission.
"Let me make it clear, especially after my discussions with him (Beni Prasad Verma), there is no question of the slightest disrespect intended or done in any manner to the Election Commission," Singhvi said.
The Election Commission Saturday issued notice to Beni Prasad Verma, saying that it was evident that the Congress leader "deliberately and wilfully" made remarks about a sub-quota for Muslims in Farrukhabad, Uttar Pradesh Feb 15. Verma said he respected the poll panel but had not said anything wrong.
The poll panel also asked him to "explain" why action should not be taken against him. He was told to reply by 5 p.m. Monday.
"I know Mr. Verma holds it (Election Commission) in the highest esteem, and whatever he has said is on record. Certainly, the intent was neither to violate any law nor to violate any model code of conduct, nor to bring down the dignity of the Election Commission," Singhvi said.
"We are saying that also in the reply and the other aspects will also be written in the reply. We will request the Election Commission to take a very balanced view of the whole thing."
Meanwhile, Verma in a brief comment said: "We will present our point of view, and we respect the Election Commission."
Verma is the second minister from the Congress to draw the poll panel`s ire after Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid for his remarks on reservations for minorities.
At a rally in Uttar Pradesh`s Farrukhabad Feb 15m Verma also dared the election commission to take action against him.