Khurshid, EC fight reaches PM’s door

The Prime Minister has replied to the CEC reiterating that no one could undermine the EC`s independent and constitutional status, the sources said.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: The war between Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid and Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi seems to be escalating with the latter writing a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh taking strong exception to the minister’s comment that the Commission came under the administrative control of the Law Ministry.

The sources said that Quraishi had written a letter to the Prime Minister about a fortnight ago saying the Law Minister was trying to undermine the EC by stating that "every institution is under some control".

Few days ago, the Law Minister had reportedly told a TV channel that the government possessed some sort of administrative control over the Election Commission (EC).

While Quraishi, when contacted by a news agency, refused to comment on his letter to the Prime minister, sources said the CEC had raised the matter conveying his disapproval of Khurshid`s public comments against the constitutional body.

The Prime Minister has now replied to the CEC reiterating that no one could undermine the EC`s independent and constitutional status, the sources said.

The latest incident follows the show-cause notice to Khurshid from the EC for “violating the model code of conduct” in Uttar Pradesh by promising sub-quota for minorities.

Meanwhile, Khurshid on Thursday submitted his reply to the EC on the notice served on him saying that he did not violate the code. The minister is learnt to have cited in his defence the 2009 Congress poll manifesto in which the party had promised to provide for a sub-quota for minorities.

Khurshid`s reply to the EC notice is expected to be taken up today at a full meeting of the EC to be chaired by Quraishi and attended by the two Election commissioners VS Sampath and HS Brahma, besides other officials.

Holding prima facie his promise of 9 percent sub-quota for backward Muslims within existing 27 percent OBC quota as a "serious violation" of the model code of conduct, the Election Commission had on January 10 slapped a show-cause notice on Khurshid asking why action should not be taken against him.

Sources said Khurshid in his reply has cited the party`s 2009 manifesto, where the Congress had said it has pioneered reservation for minorities in Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh in government employment and education on the basis of their social and economic backwardness.

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