Khurshid-EC row over: Congress

Congress said the row between Salman Khurshid and EC on minority sub quota issue is over with the Law Minister writing a regret letter.

Last Updated: Feb 14, 2012, 23:47 PM IST

New Delhi: Congress on Tuesday said the row
between Salman Khurshid and Election Commission on minority
sub quota issue is over with the Law Minister writing a regret
letter to poll panel.

"Salman Khurshid has presented his viewpoint before the
Election Commission. It`s better to put a full stop to this
incident now," party spokesperson Manish Tewari told
reporters.

He also dismissed BJP`s attack on the government over the
issue, reminding it that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi
had attacked the former Chief Election Commissioner JM
Lyngdoh by addressing him sarcastically as "James Michel
Lyngdoh" apparently pointing to his community affiliation.

"I want to remind BJP that in 2002, it is none other than
the Chief Minister of Gujarat, who addressed the then CEC as
James Michel Lyngdoh. Before pointing fingers at others, BJP
should look in its backyard," Tewari said.

Claiming that BJP has a history of undermining
constitutional authorities, Tewari said that a Chief Minister
of the BJP had given an undertaking to the court that the
Babri Masjid will be protected but what happened later is
known to all.

The Election Commission today said it has not yet taken a
decision on the letter of Khurshid regretting his
controversial remarks on the minorities sub-quota issue.

EC sources had earlier in the day indicated that the poll
body was likely to put a lid on the issue in view of
Khurshid`s regret and assurance of not raking up the matter
again.

Khurshid`s letter came close on the heels of Congress
disapproving his comments against the poll panel, saying that
"people occupying posts of responsibility should speak
responsibly".

In a short communication, the Law Minister said, "I treat
this matter as unfortunate and regret the statement...it has
never been my intention to transgress the law and undermine
the election code of conduct. I have great respect for the
Commission and the decisions it takes and has taken...."

Amid speculation over the poll panel`s response to
Khurshid`s letter, Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi
said the Commission is yet to deliberate on this particular
issue as it had several other important issues at hand.

"The Commission has been busy with other important
things....It will decide on it in due course of time,"
Quraishi told PTI after a meeting of the Commission this
morning.

Speaking to reporters in Farukhabad, Khurshid said "this
chapter is closed now".

BJP, however, demanded a public apology to the nation
from Khurshid on the issue.

"Khurshid should publicly apologize to the nation and to
the Election Commission on the issue publicly," BJP
spokesperson Prakash Javdekar said.

He added that when Khurshid had talked about the quota
issue at public forum, he cannot express regret privately in a
letter.

Tewari, however, dismissed BJP`s contentions saying the
Opposition party "does not understand the order of the EC".

There is a view in the party that while Khurshid could
have avoided making the statement for the second time in
Farrukabad saying he will stick to it even if the Election
Commission hangs him, the EC writing to the President was also
an "extreme".

PTI