EC completes hearing on Khurshid`s minority issue

Last Updated: Friday, February 3, 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 3, 2012 - 22:07

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