BJP complains of violation of code by his remarks on quota for minorities
The Election Commission late on Tuesday night issued a show-cause notice to Union Law Minister Salman Khursheed, asking him to explain why action should not be initiated against him for his statement in the course of an election rally in U.P.
In that rally, Mr. Khurshid had said that the government was considering a sub-quota of nine per cent for the minorities within the 27 per cent reservation for the Other Backward Classes (OBCs).
The notice was based on a formal complaint made by the BJP. Mr. Khursheed had gone on record after the statement that he only talked about the election manifesto of the U.P. Congress unit and it was not a policy statement in his capacity as a Union Minister.
Political observers here were of the view that the Congress actually stood to gain politically if the Minister had made public only the intention of the party if it was voted to power to give such reservation and not made an announcement on behalf of the Manmohan Singh government. One would have to wait for the video and audio clip of his exact statement to see if there was any merit in the charge of the Opposition.
Mr. Khursheed has been asked by the Commission to explain why action should not be taken against him for ‘violation of the Model Code of Conduct' and asked to send his response in writing by 5 p.m. on January 12.
It was clear during the day that the Commission would seek the explanation of the Minister after the District Returning Officer in the Farrukhabad Assembly constituency in the State served notice on his wife and the Congress candidate Lousie Fernandes to show reason why action should not be taken against her.
Earlier in the day, the BJP urged the EC to initiate action against the Law Minister for his ‘announcement' at an election rally that the Congress would provide nine per quota to the minorities within the 27 per cent for the OBCs.
The BJP contended that the announcement was a brazen violation of the model code of conduct.
A delegation of the BJP called on Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi and gave a written representation asking the EC to initiate action under the symbols rules against Mr. Khursheed, the Union government and the Congress.
The party's representation was based on the reports in a section of the media.
At a news conference here, BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi termed reservation to the minorities “unconstitutional” and accused the Congress of sowing the seeds for dividing society on religious and caste lines.