Now, Beni Prasad jumps the EC line on quota
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Last Updated: Friday, February 17, 2012, 00:12
  
Zeenews Bureau

Farukkhabad (UP)/New Delhi: After Salman Khurshid, another senior Congress leader and Union Minister for Steel Beni Prasad Verma has fuelled the minority quota war by promising reservation for Muslims if his party seizes power after the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.

Addressing a political rally in Kayamganj Assembly constituency in Farrukhabad district on Wednesday night, Verma said, “We will make sure that enhanced reservation is given to backwards and the minorities if the Congress party comes to power in Uttar Pradesh.”

"If the EC wants, it can now issue a notice to me," Verma said in the presence of Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh and Union Law Minister Khurshid.

The Steel Minister said that Muslims have not got their dues and the erstwhile non-Congress governments in the state have done nothing for their betterment.

The Election Commission on Thursday began examining if Verma's remarks were violative of the model code of conduct.

"We are in possession of the CD of the minister's speech. The Election Commission is examining the matter," said an EC official in Delhi.

Meanwhile, the Congress made a public disapproval of Verma's remarks.

"Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi had three four days back very clearly said that we function under democracy and that the language of our political discourse should be restrained and we should definitely respect Constitutional bodies. This statement given by our party general secretary is applicable to me, to Beni Prasad Verma, Salman Khurshid and all of us," Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni told reporters in Delhi.

Reacting to the controversy, CPI leader D Raja also said, “This shows Congress’ desperation to win Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.”

BJP said the one-upmanship among Congress leaders for appeasement and vote-bank politics was "very regrettable" and asked the Election Commission to take appropriate action on the issue.

UPA ally Trinamool Congress jointed the opposition attack on Verma and complained to the EC, demanding he be barred from campaigning in UP.

Trinamool alleged a "political conspiracy" has been hatched in an "attempt to befool Muslims".

However, at the peak of this controversy, Verma had denied violating the model code of conduct.

“I just said that Muslims have always been deprived of their rights and therefore we need to give them enhanced reservation,” he told a news channel, adding, “If the EC wants to serve me a notice , I will reply to it.”

The fresh controversy over minority quota erupted a day after the poll panel decided not to take further action against Law Minister Salman Khurshid for his alleged Muslim quota remarks.

The EC decided to close the case after the minister’s "change" of position and regret.

"Based on the minister's clear change of position as conveyed directly to the Commission, it has been decided not to take any further action in the matter," the Commission said in a statement.

To avoid a repeat of such a situation, the Commission has, however, advised and cautioned all contending parties and those campaigning in elections, particularly those persons holding public offices, to be extremely careful in future.

Khurshid had earlier written to Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi, expressing regret over his comments which were seen as "defiance" of the poll body and led to complaint against him to President Pratibha Patil.

With Agency Inputs


First Published: Thursday, February 16, 2012, 11:37


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