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Updated: February 13, 2012 01:50 IST

Khursheed issue now at PM's door

  • Smita Gupta
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Union Law Minister Salman Kurshid addresses an election rally in Uttar Pradesh on February 9, 2012. (Bottom) A file photo of the Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi. Photo: PTI, Rajeev Bhatt
Union Law Minister Salman Kurshid addresses an election rally in Uttar Pradesh on February 9, 2012. (Bottom) A file photo of the Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi. Photo: PTI, Rajeev Bhatt

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will have to take a call on the Election Commission's letter to President Pratibha Patil, seeking her “immediate and decisive” intervention in the case of Union Law Minister Salman Khursheed, which has been despatched to him for “appropriate action.” The EC has accused Mr. Khursheed of repeatedly violated the Model Code of Conduct during the ongoing Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh.

The government now has no option but to respond to the matter swiftly, especially as it has been receiving wall-to-wall coverage on TV channels, with the Opposition parties, especially the Bharatiya Janata Party, demanding Mr. Khursheed's resignation. (It was the BJP which made the first complaint to the EC against the Minister on this issue). It is learnt that Mr. Khursheed spoke to the Prime Minister telephonically, giving his side of the story to him.

Government sources, however, indicated to The Hindu that as Mr. Khursheed's statements had been made in his capacity as a Congressman campaigning for his party, uttered as it were in the heat of battle, it should be regarded as falling in the “political” rather than in the “administrative” realm. Indeed, these sources stressed his job was not in danger.

Meanwhile, the Congress, too, stepped in officially to try and neutralise the situation. “The Election Commission is a constitutional body,” party general secretary and media chairperson Janardan Dwivedi said. “The Congress always wants all Congressmen to speak as per the norms of public life and the law of the land.” This was even as another party general secretary, who is in charge of U.P., Digvijay Singh defended Mr. Khursheed's promise that if elected to power in the State, the Congress would give religious minorities 9 per cent out of the 27.5 per cent OBC quota. The Law Minister, he said, was only repeating a manifesto promise.

The Minister appears to have got the message: there has been a perceptible softening in tone, as he refused on Sunday to respond to TV journalists on the latest developments in the controversy.

Opinion is divided on the wisdom of the line that Union Law Minister Salman Khursheed has adopted this far on the controversy surrounding his promise to voters in Uttar Pradesh —that if voted to power the Congress would give religious minorities 9 per cent out of the 27.5 per cent OBC quota. One view is that by provoking the Bharatiya Janata Party to attack him, he has pulled in Muslim votes for the Congress, and his wife, Louise Khurshid, who is contesting from Kaimganj. The other is that in U.P.'s world of “identity politics,” Mr. Khursheed is trying to fit in, projecting himself as a Muslim leader which, as party colleagues stress, is “uncharacteristic of him.” Yet others say that Mr. Khursheed's statements, especially when he said he would repeat what he had said, even if the EC “hanged him,” could be the “thin end of the wedge.”

A senior Congress leader also said that while party manifestos had spoken of reservation for religious minorities, Mr. Khursheed need not have mentioned a specific figure as “no government or party decision” had been taken on the 9 per cent matter. Nevertheless, he, too, stressed that “a solution will be found to the current impasse.”

For the BJP, the reservation controversy has come in handy. The party — indeed the entire Sangh parivar — has mounted a massive campaign in U.P., seeking to consolidate the Hindu vote by saying the Constitution does not permit a quota on religious lines while telling Hindu OBCs that the Congress is giving a slice of its 27.5 per cent pie to Muslims.

Let us wait what our honourable PM take decision on this matter.
My guess is that as usual he won't do anything.

from:  santosh
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 08:59 IST

Mr Khursheed and congress (by silently supporting it) has made a mockery of election rules. For such an open violation of Model code of conduct, if Mr Seshan had been CEC, all congress candidates or at the least Mr Khursheeds wife's candidancy would have been disqualified, since he spoke these words at her election meeting. The EC clearly has the powers, to countermand elections and disqualify candidates, and Mr Seshan had shown that EC has those powers. Mr Qureshi by going slow on this issue and running to the President, has implicitly allowed candidates and their supporters to make mockery of EC rules. It is not enough to just censure him, it is more important to disqualify candidates who benefit from this. If nothing is done to disqualify candidates and only go after those violate the code of conduct, what prevents other party members to similarly violate code of conduct , pay penalty but let the candidates reap the benefits. This whole episode is detrimental to democracy.

from:  Ganesh
Posted on: Feb 13, 2012 at 10:59 IST

I guess we should support Khursheed as he is supporting only muslims. We can his statements are as communal only if he promises reservation for Hindus. This is our usual policy. Let us strict to that.

from:  joseph
Posted on: Feb 13, 2012 at 10:58 IST

"Now the congress party trying to divide the UP on the communal lines using kursheed sab, it is a gross of violation of constitution, and disrespecting the election code of conduct"

from:  narender reddy kampelli
Posted on: Feb 13, 2012 at 10:43 IST

OH!OH! EC must teach ABCD about election rules to the very great law minister

from:  l.s.mohandoss
Posted on: Feb 13, 2012 at 10:10 IST

Mr. Khursid matter would be lead to another editorial page and media news but nothing else.

from:  Neeraj Jain
Posted on: Feb 13, 2012 at 10:07 IST

The Law minister has broken the Law, which means that he has forfeited his right to be law minister. If he has any sense of decency, he should leave the office immediately. Will the PM take any steps to throw him out of the ministry? The answer is a big 'No'. If at all he is removed from his present portfolio, he will be given some other portfolio. Reasons is simple: He is a member of a minority community which is the major Vote-bank of the Congress party. Congress party will not do anything that may displease its vote bank. The issue of reservation continues to dog the Indian politics and society. Dr.Ambedkar wanted just two communities to be given this facility - the SC and ST. Now we see that the list has become too long and is in the process of becoming even longer. The present trend is to declare oneself backward so as to claim eligibility for reservation. This has come in handy for political parties too. Promise reservation to any community that does not come under reservation.

from:  Andrew Knotts
Posted on: Feb 13, 2012 at 10:05 IST

Now India can be sure of no action as PM is known for the same. Let
India not dream

from:  ganesan r
Posted on: Feb 13, 2012 at 09:09 IST

our proactive PM will immediately resolve this!!!!

from:  kannan
Posted on: Feb 13, 2012 at 08:27 IST

The honorable law minister should have avoided his remarks. India is the most populous
democracy in the world and nobody has alleged rigging or criticized the electoral process in
India. In fact the Indian voters have proved all along that they are really intelligent, in
selecting and rejecting candidates. The election commissioner has performed his duty in an
honest manner and all praise to him in following the right channel to correct the minister.
The up voters will again select the right candidates and prove that democratic credentials
Will continue in the years to come, in INDIA.

from:  C.p.Chandra das
Posted on: Feb 13, 2012 at 07:41 IST

This is the result of undeserving people being made Ministers
on caste/religious considerations. The candidature of Mrs.
Kursheed must be cancelled. The EC must be tough. In future if
any body violates the code of conduct, their candidature must
be cancelled. Giving warnings to these thick-skinned politicians
is of no avail. It is about time that the EC becomes more result
oriented. Criminals and those who do not file IT returns should
be banned from standing for elections. To get a passport one
has to show IT returns then why not for standing for elections ?
Why should a person who does not contribute to the exchequer
get benefits from it?

from:  S N Iyer
Posted on: Feb 13, 2012 at 07:34 IST

This is absolute drama by congress to garner minority vote bank. It is a
double edged sword, what happens if Kurshid resigns and acts according
to plan...The vote will swing in favour of congress. As rightly pointed
out by previous election commissionar, election should be cancelled as
null and void. The whole funding of next election should be billed to

from:  Naresh Prabhu R
Posted on: Feb 13, 2012 at 07:06 IST

Congress should clarify whether 9.5 figure mentioned in the context of quota for underprivileged among the religious minorities represents 9.5 percentage points taken out of 27.5 quota of OBCs or 9.5 % of 27.5 quota. In the case of first interpretation , the share of religious minorities works out to one third and in the latter case, it works out to be less than 3% of OBC quota. The distinction is important because Percentage is different from percentage points

from:  Sharad Bokil
Posted on: Feb 13, 2012 at 06:49 IST

This is an open violation of Model Code, since his promise of 9%
reservation will never be implemented as they will not be elected to
Power. This is only fooling the Muslim community. His statement has two
violations of Model Code. Even after correction by EC, the minister is
adamant. This is a third violation. If PM does not act, it is a fourth

from:  Thomas Kocherry
Posted on: Feb 13, 2012 at 06:15 IST

The Law Minister, Salman Kursheed, has the gumption to make a statement in an
election meeting on the issue of reservation for the minorities, in gross violation of
the electoral code of conduct, He is not an ordinary citizen, but one occupying the
high office as Law Minister and must be fully aware of the serious nature of the
statement. In the circumstances, the Election Commission has no other option but
to report the matter to the President for remedial action and the President, in
turn, has forwarded the same to the PM for his comments and now the ball is in
PM's court.

from:  T.S.Sreenivasan
Posted on: Feb 13, 2012 at 06:12 IST

It is surprising to see that Election Commission is too soft to take action on the erring Cabinet Minister who had committed a grave electoral practice. Why should EC go to PM or President when the erring Minister goes on repeating the electoral offence again. If what had been committed by the Minister is wrong and the same proved, Commission should have taken action as [per Electoral Laws.

from:  Partrhasarathy
Posted on: Feb 13, 2012 at 04:12 IST

The Congress has been playing vote bank politics for long and this has got to stop. As a first step, the minister should be dropped from the Cabinet for promising quotas for muslims. Also, any reservation cannot be given indefinitely and should be limited to first generation only. Otherwise, the caste system will be perpetuated instead of being eliminated which should be the goal.

from:  krishna
Posted on: Feb 13, 2012 at 02:46 IST

Its a well thought out plan by Congress. At maximum, Khurshid will be dropped from cabinet for sometime but this will convey the message to muslims of UP that Congress is their messiah. I wish our President should have taken a sterner action against Khurshid. Merely sending a letter to our 'strong' Prime minister is not going to serve any purpose. I request to people of all five states to vote judiciously this time and in 2014 too because we, as citizens of India, deserve a clean and progressive government.

from:  Kamal
Posted on: Feb 12, 2012 at 23:52 IST

Mr. kursheed does reservation even obeys right to equality for which you can confront the whole world.

from:  kareem khan
Posted on: Feb 12, 2012 at 23:46 IST

Khurshid wants quota for poor Muslims. What about poor Hindus, poor Christians, poor Sikhs ? We have no political party who is sincerely and really secular to put this question before all parties specially the Congress party. On one side the Govt wants to improve the condition of Scheduled castes if they are non-muslims and non-christians denying that improvement to some on account of their faith in non-hindu religions and on the other side they want to improve the condition of poor Muslims by introduction of quota. Are we a secular country ? Are we a country believing equality for citizens to have freedom of faith ? Are we a country to divide people and to work for eternal divisive mentality ?

from:  K. C.Thomas
Posted on: Feb 12, 2012 at 23:12 IST

vote for quota scam, he should be throw behind the bar just like Amar Singh

from:  SSP
Posted on: Feb 12, 2012 at 23:08 IST

Recently there was a news item about the election commission being subordinate to or under law ministry's control as aired out had died down. Irrespective of parties, political power audacity making even the literate amuk. Of late there had been a tendency for political personalities to air out irresponsible statements then their leader or bottom ranks make juglary of interpretation or at the most surrender to drop the matter or controversy and take out the leaf from people memories as time passes is the tactics.

from:  K.Subramanian
Posted on: Feb 12, 2012 at 22:01 IST

How nice. We have a Law Minister who does not know the law of the land and a bunch of law makers who are the most efficient in breaking the law. Jai Hind!!!!

from:  David
Posted on: Feb 12, 2012 at 21:40 IST

I think we need to increase the quoto to 200% to accommodate everybody's aspirations. I am not cynical or skeptical. The Govt. is not interested in the real development of the people, but has been pampering for the sake of vote bank.

from:  Suresh
Posted on: Feb 12, 2012 at 21:40 IST

the EC is right and salman is right as politician-EC can now ask him to leave UP for 2 weeks.

from:  karuma
Posted on: Feb 12, 2012 at 21:23 IST

The media is being too soft on this issue . The media must not let go , but stand up firmly to its responsibilities and ensure either the law minister apologises and retracts his statements or he resigns. Pursue the issue please till we have a definite result that will prevent such episodes from occuring in future .

Posted on: Feb 12, 2012 at 21:17 IST

Khurshid sb its too late to cry for backward Muslim, National as well as regional political parties of the country makes statemnts just to alure Muslim votes, in reality they never even think for their Devlopment,,they are living in very miserable condition ,Khurheed sb Should see his face in so called Sacher committee report After taking their votes for 6 decades.

from:  Ghulam Ali Jammu
Posted on: Feb 12, 2012 at 20:49 IST

Desperation in the Congress camps. They will resort to any means - even split the nation on communal lines if need be . The electorate and the nation as a whole must be vigilant .

Posted on: Feb 12, 2012 at 20:35 IST

Being a Law minister,Mr. Khursid has damaged the reputation of Indian Constitution by his statement. It can't be repaired unless he himself ask for apology for such act in a press conference.

from:  Abhishek Kumar
Posted on: Feb 12, 2012 at 20:30 IST

If a minister itself spoke and behave like a adement act, then how can election commision get peceful act from ordinary politician?. So a minister must have good quality for a example to comman man.

from:  kuppuswamykesavan
Posted on: Feb 12, 2012 at 19:16 IST

This incident shows the true face of indian politics,whether they are doing it for some community or doing just for their political vote banks.Congress party annoncing sub quota just before u.p elections,shows their true nature.Its always easy to divide rather than uniting the whole nation.This is the high time U.P electorate shows these opportunists their true place,by electing the right representatives irrespective of any party predisposition.

from:  Amit
Posted on: Feb 12, 2012 at 19:14 IST

Mr. Quraishi is to be commended for his bravery in upholding the law, against a law Minister who is determined to subvert it. I feel sorry for Mr. Kurshid, a respectable individual who for reasons best known to him has stooped low in this incident. I feel the greatest admiration for Mr. Quraishi, as a man of principle, who could have easily let his principles slide in order to avoid present or future retribution by the Government. By his firm stance against political wrong-doing, he has almost eliminated his own chances of being appointed to high office as a Governor or similar dignitary, post- retirement, by the powers that be. By disregarding selfish personal interests, he will go down in history as a brave Indian whom the nation can be proud of. I salute you, Mr. Quraishi!

from:  CS Venkat
Posted on: Feb 12, 2012 at 18:52 IST

This may be drama enacted by the Congress Party with the blessing of the high command. Might have been told that " you speak like this, the election commission will give a warning at the most. we will drop you from the cabinet for some time and bring you back later". But the message would reach the muslims "Look, we are for the reservation" One more thing it is kalanidhi Maran and not Dayanidhi Maran as mentioned by Prof. krishnamurthy.

from:  raam
Posted on: Feb 12, 2012 at 18:42 IST

oh!oh!what a wonder,you have to teach law to law minister,then how he can be law minister?

from:  l.s.mohandoss
Posted on: Feb 12, 2012 at 18:39 IST

.. Mr. Khurshid is a moderate and dignified person with an admirable past. But I am sad that he too has resorted to Vote Bank policy. His action in announcing steps favoring Muslims at this juncture in UP and clinging to it in-spite of EC's objections are highly deplorable. He has depicted that Congress is a party for Muslims and now the Congress says that Ministers should act within Law. How funny it is ? Mr. Khurhid has set a bad example and the open defiance of law is dangerous step . But who cares for Rule Of law especially in Congress ??? The allowing of Dayanidhi maran to leave the country though the enforcement Directorate has filed a case against him rises million dollar question. All these under Honest PM's rule . Oh ! God !Long back Cho wrote and Enacted a play IS GOD DEAD ?? His message through that drama is still valid.

from:  Prof.R.Krishnamurthy
Posted on: Feb 12, 2012 at 17:29 IST

Leaders across the parties should refrain from politics over the Constitutional offices, latter are enshrined to work freely without any political interference or prejudices, dragging them into political controversies will not be a healthy practice for democracy and institutional integrity.

from:  Prafful Agarwal
Posted on: Feb 12, 2012 at 15:37 IST

The action of Election Commission is commendable.This incident also indicates that we need to strengthen all important institutions of our country like CBI,CVC and give them power like Election Commission so that they can stop ministers from abuse of power.It's a good move from congress also to accept the fault of one of their senior ministers.I Hope that Law Minister Salaman khursheed will learn from this experience and think thrice before making such kind of statement.

from:  sumit kumar rai
Posted on: Feb 12, 2012 at 14:09 IST

This is ridiculous.Just saying 'be within the law' is no punishment for a wrongdoing like this.He might reap undue advantage at the cost of EC and elections in India.Media & everyone else should now force him to withdraw his statement publicly or apologize to EC to protect its stature.

from:  Raviteja
Posted on: Feb 12, 2012 at 13:17 IST

What's wrong when a Leader promising 9% quota for Muslims in OBC Category, when the 27% Reservation is already there for OBC, why this is against constitutional. If talking for reservation is unconstitutional, then why there is 27% Reservation for whom???

from:  An Indian
Posted on: Feb 12, 2012 at 13:12 IST

It appears as children fighting in a nursery school. Since Salman Khurshid is not a child, and he ranted against EC with full conviction, there is no other way to make amends but to get fired by PM.

from:  Hitesh
Posted on: Feb 12, 2012 at 13:09 IST

The political leaders in general and those who hold high positions should behave and say things without crossing the set boundaries so that people can emulate them. Holding a public office is not all about power, perks, adulation, VVIP treatment.Since they are peoples' representatives they should reflect the qualities of public who are generally law-abiding.

from:  mvrangaraajan
Posted on: Feb 12, 2012 at 12:58 IST
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