EC completes hearing on Khurshid`s minority issue
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Last Updated: Friday, February 03, 2012, 22:07
  
New Delhi: The Election Commission on Friday completed its hearing in connection with the notice served on Law Minister Salman Khurshid over his promise of increasing sub-quota for backward minorities while campaigning in Uttar Pradesh.

The Election Commission had issued a showcause notice to Khurshid for having promised that his party would provide nine per cent reservation to backward minorities from the existing 27 per cent reservation meant for OBCs should it return to power in UP.

Khurshid had made the remarks on January 10 in Farrukhabad while campaigning for his wife Louise who is contesting as a Congress candidate from there. The notice was served after BJP complained against him for allegedly violating the model code of conduct by making such promises to woo minority voters.

Wrapping up the arguments for the Law Minister, his lawyer Abhishek Singhvi told the Commission that Khurshid had not done anything wrong and in doing so was acting as an individual Congressman and not as a minister.

"The Election Commission has completed a second set of detailed hearing today and all relevant facts have been put before it. But the contentions on behalf of Congress party and Mr Khurshid made by us were that Mr Khurshid was acting purely and totally in his capacity as an individual Congressman. He made no announcement as a minister," Singhvi told reporters after the hour-long meeting with EC.

BJP also appeared before the Commission and sought stern action against the Law Minister for alleged violation of model code of conduct by wooing voters through such promises.

BJP spokesperson and lawyer Ravi Shankar Prasad said "BJP has filed a complaint against Mr Salman Khurshid, who is not only the Law Minister but also the Minister of Minority Affairs. On the 10th of January in the constituency of his wife in Farrukhabad, he made an announcement that if you vote us, we will increase the quota to 9 per cent for Muslims and minorities. This was clearly designed to garner votes because he is also the Minority Affairs minister."

BJP spokesperson and lawyer Ravi Shankar Prasad said "BJP has filed a complaint against Mr Salman Khurshid, who is not only the Law Minister but also the Minister of Minority Affairs. On the 10th of January in the constituency of his wife in Farrukhabad, he made an announcement that if you vote us, we will increase the quota to 9 per cent for Muslims and minorities. This was clearly designed to garner votes because he is also the Minority Affairs minister."

Prasad contended this complaint is not against Congress but is against the Law Minister Salman Khurshid.

"It is a clear violation of the model code of conduct enforced in the state on December 23....There should be a ban on ministers making such statements to woo voters ahead of elections," said the BJP leader.

Prasad also contended that in the Congress manifesto there is no mention of nine per cent reservation. "There was no policy announcement by Congress earlier for nine per cent. And the Commission in its wisdom had stayed the operation of even the 4.5 per cent of reservation."

Today was EC's second hearing on the issue as Congress had appeared before the EC earlier too and strongly defended Khurshid for his quota remarks. BJP had appeared in the case today after EC had asked it to do so.

Khurshid had courted a controversy earlier too when he suggested that his Ministry had administrative control over the EC, prompting CEC SY Quraishi to complain to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who, in turn, reassured the EC of its "functional autonomy".

PTI


First Published: Friday, February 03, 2012, 22:07


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