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Updated: February 15, 2012 02:16 IST

Khurshid backtracks, regrets remarks

J. Balaji
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Election Commission and Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khursheed have been engaged in a battle over the announcement of a sub-quota for Muslims after the notification of assembly elections.
Election Commission and Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khursheed have been engaged in a battle over the announcement of a sub-quota for Muslims after the notification of assembly elections.

Union Law and Justice Minister and Congress leader Salman Khurshid, who challenged the Election Commission's authority to censure him for his remarks on a sub-quota for the minorities, has backtracked and regretted his statement. Sources said the Election Commission was yet to take a decision on his letter.

“I treat this matter as unfortunate and regret the statement. I bow to the wisdom of the Election Commission and remain personally committed to ensuring that such situations do not arise,” he said in the letter sent to Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi on Monday night.

Mr. Khurshid, who had earlier asserted that he would stick to his stand even if the Commission “hangs me,” said: “As responsible citizens of this country, it is our obligation to promote the spirit of law, its adherence and enforcement. This is the ethos on which I have woven my entire life and [I] am committed to the EC's effort towards the conduct of a free and fair election process.”

Mr. Khurshid said he was disturbed by the developments stemming from a statement he made in the Uttar Pradesh election campaign. “It has also caused me [an] equal measure of sadness.” It had never been his intention to transgress the law or the model code of conduct. “I have great respect for the EC and the decisions it takes and has taken.”

Mr. Khurshid's volte-face comes after Mr. Quraishi lodged a complaint with President Pratibha Patil against him seeking her “immediate and decisive” intervention to ensure that the Commission discharged its duties.

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The Law Minister of the country openly challenging through extra-judicial channels the decisions of a constitutional authority is in the least an uncondonable impropriety and therefore the Prime Minister should have asked the Minister to resign from office. But he didn't as was to be expected.

from:  K.Vijayakumar
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 11:12 IST

This is not a personal dispute between Khurshid and Mr. Quraishi. Therefore, an apology will not do. For the same reason Mr. Quraishi does not have any option of forgiving Khurshid. A crime has been committed, and it has to be dealt with in accordance with the law of the country. The crime is not restricted to breaking the Code of Conduct, but also comprises of obstructing a public servant (viz, CEC) from performing his official duties, and making speeches to incite communal passions.

from:  vorpal
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 16:48 IST

Forgiving Khursheed (politicians) is not a solution to such kind of blunder. Election commision must punish these person as per their authority. I am sure he has not learnt from this mistake. These kind of mistake has become part of their bussiness. Our constitution shall also be amended to provide authority to punish such kind of politicians.

from:  Santosh
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 14:23 IST

I wonder who has been hurt by the rhetoric of Salman Khurshid in
promising,what the congress party would do, if it came to power.
Nobody has been hurt in any way.Besides,what he promised already
exists in the election manifesto of the party.If he had declared in
the capacity as a central Minister, any benefit to the entire
constituency or to any particular group,it would have become a clear
violation of the election code.But that is not the case
here.Nevertheless,it is good that the Minister has expressed regret
to avoid any further legal tussle between the EC and the Law
ministry.The legal correctness will be known only later.

from:  Raju Varghese
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 14:19 IST

Actually, he played the role of a messenger of congress. It's all about politics, whatever message congress wants to convey they have done. But Election commission should take this issue very seriously as it may put things against them.We all know that Mr.Khurshid has done something wrong if he was not punished it will raise such incidents with other parties as well.

from:  Rahul Bhardwaj
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 14:19 IST

Its clear the intention of the statement is woo the voters to their favour. Now the Law minister feels sorry by what seem to be illegal and undemocratic. But this sorry comes after most people whom he addressed with this false promise had voted. Will the EC or court of law take this into considerationad do a repolling?

from:  G.Venkatasubramaniyan
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 13:51 IST

Are we a spineless nation? Will the media play its part please ? The law minsiter cannot and must not get away by a mere apology for display of abject lawlessness. This should never be repeated in this country again. So the punishment meted out for willfully breaking the law or the "moral code of conduct" in an election, must be severe enough. He must be forced to resign from his post; be made ineligible forever for a cabinet position and also prevented from contesting an election for 10 years. The media must make it happen.

Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 12:12 IST

The damage is done! The comment intended to attract (or at the least confuse) minority votes has gone out and that cannot be taken back. While benefit of doubt can be given for the first utterance (though it is naive to assume that hon minister and party wasnt aware of exactly what and why he was saying it), the second one of "will repeat even if hanged" certainly deserves a stringent action so that no politician dare try such stunts in the future. A lesson must be made of this by CEC. Politicians cannot open and close issues at will. Sincerely hope that CEC takes a next step notwithstanding this regret.

from:  Surya
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 10:51 IST

Very sad Law minister breaks law, and when pointed out, defends his action, supported by Party spokesman and also PM who remains silent; and when finally reprimanded by judicial authority, agrees to withdraw remark and express regret; Very shameful on his part; and reflects the pretty silly biased attitude of his party too ! Time we sacked these folks and prevented them for contesting elections, for violating laws of land ; will we do it ?

from:  Radhik Hairam
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 07:19 IST

Mr Minister, you were ready to hang for your utterences. Now you should hang your head in shame for the regret. You neither were doing a service to the people you promised the reservation nor were you doing your party any good by overstepping your brief. I think you were trying to test the length of stupidity the EC will tolerate before they rein in the offenders. Do the Government, party and the people a favour. Resign.

from:  mani sandilya
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 06:16 IST

Everyday politicians are raising the bar of shamelessness. Mr. Khursheed is has shown that he can take politics to a new low after the Karnataka BJP MLAs episode. But I am happy to see that changes that are happening in recently, politicians are beginning to realize that they are no longer the All-powerful/All-mighty.
Funny fact about Congress is that it is a party without an ideology which supports liberal ideas and religious fundamentalists like Khursheed at the same time.

from:  Nikhil K
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 04:03 IST

That is indeed a nice trick! So what was said in public will be cashed in as votes and what was said in a quite letter will save his job! Kudos to the "democratic" ways of these ministers! They know how to walk
between all the legal lines! Lakshman Rekha? No problem!!

from:  Krishnan iyer
Posted on: Feb 15, 2012 at 02:21 IST

A face saving formula always being resorted to by the congress.There is no other go for the law minister except to resign else the Prime Minister should sack him immediately.

from:  Anthony Rao.Reddy
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 23:19 IST

Muslims are scapegoats in this third-class politics of the country. Be it Congress or BJP, we are targeted unnecessarily. BJP attacks from the front, whereas Congress backstabs Muslims. If at all Hindus feel that Muslims are a part of this country, then reservations in education and jobs must be provided.

from:  Roeas
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 23:06 IST

Seems to be that 'foot in the mouth' disease has become widely prevalent in the Congress.
Arrogance has become a 'hallmark' of the Congress.

from:  Mukul Goyal
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 22:58 IST

It is ridiculous to say that the chapter is closed with an apology. Secular media is quick to push it under the carpet and say "All is Well". Remember the Varun Gandhi episode during the last parliamentary elections, the media was ready to keep it burning for consolidation of votes in congress's favour. But now, they want no action to be taken and a mere apology is enough.

We ought to remember that Kursheed goes on with this bantering even after being censured already by EC and hence he should be seen as a proclaimed offender of the law and hence strong action is warranted. Now that the campaigning is closed, he says he will not utter again (may be he means until the next elections).

Gone are the days when EC behaved like a true Man under TN Seshan. They play second fiddle to the ruling establishment and is a pretty sorry state.

from:  Vijay
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 17:57 IST

Such an irresponsible statement coming from the Law Minister himself is not justified. His double face is now exposed to all, but what about those poor gullible people who still think he'll live upto his promise, they have been deceived. He must rectify his mistake by talking to the people of that constituency. And henceforth a strict irrevocable law must be made to strengthen the power of CEC, with stringent actions against those who undermine it, especially at the crucial times of elections.

from:  Akriti
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 16:51 IST

It is unfortunate and regrettable that the responsible Law minister brought such a dis-repute to the office and caused unnecessary and unprecedented controversy wasting the valuable time of the EC and forcing EC for the intervention of PM through the President.
It is sad that the word SORRY does not carry any value these days in any quarter and does not equate it with an APOLOGY. It is equally unfortunate that the Ruling party does not have the intention nor the wisdom to understand the common value between RIGHT and WRONG. But for the media, opposition and an upright EC, the word SORRY is coming. It is the same minister who had said he controls the TRAVEL exp budget of EC, indirectly trying to bend the EC to toe the line.
Ruling party does not care and instead trying to create Guinness Record by breaking and challenging all the institutions, being it CAG, CVC, Army and now the EC.

from:  J Ramakrishnan
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 16:05 IST

Apology is just a vent for the pressure mounted by Election
Commissioner on the Law Minister. He has raised the issue and will
raise this again, that's for sure. He has made his intention very
clear by repeating his statement during election campaign and has thus
insulted the Election Commission.
Fake apology after the flagrant transgression of LAW by the Law
Minister is just a part of political gambit. Election Commission
should award violators of poll code with penalties like sports such as
one or two election ban depending on the gravity of the violation. And
the repeated offenders should be penalized life ban on contesting from
any election. Only then irresponsible, impudent politicians will learn
not to disobey the law.

from:  Aditya Prakash Kanth
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 14:48 IST

I am surprised why CEC is writing to President while taking action is within his power. He should disqualify Mr. Khurshid as a MP and bar him from campaigning for any level of election for next 5 years. Also a clear decision to central government for getting any proposal in this term for 9% reservation for which this whole issue has come up. Being a constitutional body EC should show its spine instead of begging for honer. Any political drama of apology or regret should not be acceptable, as this will show EC functioning in poor light and there will be no value of code of conduct. If EC accepts it, they will have no right to punish others.

from:  Chandramani
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 14:41 IST

The comments are been made,He has hurt all.the damage has been done .By
trying to be very loyal to the party he belongs,And know an apology is
quite irrelevant by the minister,Today's voter will definitively will
disregard the comment made by the minister,It is a black mark to the regime in power and to its leaders.

from:  jayarama
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 14:33 IST

What will be fate of this country where the country's own law minister
intentionally behaves lawlessly ?

from:  ASHWIN
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 14:31 IST

CEC role in this election is suspicious, Why EC wrote to president instead of taking direct action, it seems like a drama to benefit specific party. The same EC was surprisingly quick and prompt for action against 6 District Magistrates to transfer in UP just after a complaint by congress party. Its CEC's responsibility to maintain the sanity of this independent constitutional institution irrespective of the party in government.

from:  Prasad
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 14:25 IST

Thanks Mr. Khursheed... Atlast you people have respected the autonomous body of the constitution.. I hope this will not be repeated...

from:  Ajeet Singh
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 14:23 IST

The congress Job is done.The potential voters have got the message . This way only politician can get away not a common man . Had such speech been made by any BJP leader it would have been framed as communal . The minister should have been asked to resign and then barred from contesting elections in future. Any way , in our country rules are only for common man and not for those with high connections.

from:  PRAMOD
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 14:21 IST

What does the minister mean when he says "it has caused me an equal amount of sadness"?

Here is the Law Minister of our country - flouting the norms not once, but for many times over - even going to the extent of saying that the EC can hang him, and then feeling sorry about it when all the damage has been done and the mission has been accomplished.

The average Indian well understands these tactics, and can only hope to see better people ruling this great country of ours.

from:  Shanti Swaroop
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 14:17 IST

What about his statement that he will prefer to die and so on. This fellow tomorrow may again flip, he has lost his integrity.We do not want our law minister of such a loose character.

from:  Atul Marathe
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 13:59 IST

Well planned and pre-meditated strategy by the Congress. Mere apology letter to CEC ? It should not be acceptable . What about the electorate who have been fooled into believing his statements and the insult to the office of a constitutional authority ? The Minister must be punished and Media must create the environment for a just punishment to the guilty , so that such acts are not repeatd again in this country . He must also be made to go back to the same constituencies and tender an unconditioanl apology to the electorate .

Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 13:56 IST

This is absolutely ridiculous. First make a statement with full cognizance, finish up the campaign and then regret just for a name sake. The damage is done already. It can not be taken back just by regretting. Our politicians are very good at that. If Kursheed is really regretting his speech then let him make that statement in the same constituency and tell people that he had crossed the boundary and he wants to take back the assurance what he has given to the people. I wonder how could a person who is ready to be hanged for the subject now regrets??

from:  RAJA
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 13:42 IST

will EC accept similar apology had the issue been involving other parties or for that matter an independent candidate.I am sure such an independent candidate/his supporter would have been hauled up by this time with a court case. And what do congress think when they say EC guidelines are not binded by any legality. Do they feel they are above such institutions. This shows the mindset of congress.

from:  satya
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 13:38 IST

People like law minister should be banned from holding any public office and president should dismiss him

from:  K.K.Goel
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 13:36 IST

He should go back to the public and say sorry where he made his statement. In congress we have too many bookish leaders who lack common sense. They are tarnishing the image of the party once belonged to freedom fighters.

from:  Amol
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 13:34 IST

I feel sorry for for he usually comes accross as a reasonable person.He usually does not suffer from foot in mouth decease!

from:  Ramnik Mamik
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 13:25 IST

With Salman Khurshid "bowing to the wisdom of the EC, regretting his statement" & giving a commitment that such a situation will not arise again, the EC should take the words of the Law Minister in a positive manner & treat the chapter as closed. However, this should serve as a lesson for all our politicians as well so that they cannot take things for granted. Forgiveness is the bedrock of all religious scriptures of the world & God/Allah, in the Holy Qur'an is also described as "Al-Ghaffur" (All Forgiving). While Surah Nahl (16:128) of the Holy Qur'an says, "For God is with those who restrain themselves & those who do good", an excellent verse for both Salman Khurshid & the CED, Saint Thiruvalluvar, in his Thirukkural ( Kural No.156), has also said, "Retaliation gives, but a day's joy while forgiveness brings glory forever", another great piece of advice for all of us. One hopes that the Election Commission of India will take note of Salman Khurshid's letter & act accordingly.

from:  S. Balakrishnan
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 13:12 IST

Is it not a joke or preplanned? How can a Law minister say like this? If he really regrets he should be quite from his post.

from:  Shankar Kandari
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 13:12 IST

Khurshid should resign from his post. He has no right to stay in his position.

from:  Anand rajan
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 13:13 IST

Look at this : "Mr. Khursheed’s sub-quota remarks were first made during a rally in support of his wife Louise who is contesting as a Congress candidate in Farrukhabad."Blood is thicker than water.You can not expect much from the Congress party which supports this nepotism.

from:  subbu
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 13:05 IST

khurshid must suffer a penalty. no getting away with a delayed apology. minimum he must be barred from further campaiging and be ordered to keep away from UP. also his wife must be cautioned agaist allowing her supporters to flout the EC else she may also be penalised

from:  indar erry
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 12:57 IST

I think if Congress speaks out its mind on how are they going to deal reservations for minorities with in SC/ST and OBCs as sub quota for those who have not got any benefit. There is nothing wrong about it. But they should pursue full hog and see that it is implemented. Otherwise it has no meaning.....

from:  Mahi
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 12:57 IST

Being law minister he will comment wrong things and when action time will come you will say I dont mean that & has good respect to the body. Its just like kicking some body & when that person retaliet you will fell sorry. and no action will be taken againt him . If people of INDIA will the same tactice then will the respective party not react?

from:  Satyanarayan Behera
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 12:56 IST

This is one another attempt made by politicians, to mislead civilians. This type of mistakes should never been ignored by people & responsible authority. The voters have to think & decide what exactly such politicians did before when they had in power.

from:  Amol Ballal
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 12:56 IST

Does an expression of regret mean the playing field has been leveled instantaneously. Even the expression of regret is as vague as it can get - referring to "developments arising out of one of my statements". So we have one more take home lesson - even the Law Minister can speak irresponsibly and then just express regret - after the damage has been done - and walk away scot free.
Unless suitable action is taken on this case, no one henceforth will even bother to think before saying anything. The President should advise the PM to initiate suitable action against the irresponsible minister. (And as usual, the poor spineless PM will take the advise and bury it forever until someone files a PIL) Not sure whether the EC by itself can initiate any action against a sitting minister. It is shame to address such people as "Honourable".

from:  BRajan
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 12:47 IST

I am totally agree with the gentleman's comments.Ultimatley this is not real apology, its coming to rescue himself after doing "blunders".EC should take hard stand and demonstrate an example to people of India.

from:  Rahul
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 12:44 IST

It's very relieving to know that salman khurshid has apologised in a very decent manner and in a true fashion of the gentleman, the way he is usually known rather than taking ominous and subjective positions which unfortunately has become the characteristic of most of the politicians these days. Nobody should under the sway of public sentiment undermine the authority of EC, least in the times of elections. Institutions built over the decades are instrumental in checking the dangers of easy populism that comes with electoral democracy and all stakeholders in development of nation are dutybound to protect and respect them. Salman khurshid now must gracefully accept whatever action EC takes against it.

Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 12:41 IST

While this is a good development, the minister has proven himself to be permanently
unsuitable for holding the Law portfolio -- he clearly lacks an innate sense of law,
which is essential for that portfolio. He also has shown that he cannot handle the
Minority Affairs portfolio in an unbiased manner. The least the Prime Minister must
do is to reallocate the Law and Minority Affairs portfolios to someone else. Also, that
is the least the PM can do at this stage to redeem himself -- he has cut a very sorry
figure as a disempowered PM by not having commented or acted on this issue so far.

from:  antar darshi
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 12:08 IST

The comments have been made. The damage has been done. And the stand of the party communicated. An apology is quite irrelevant. Why not bar the minister from contesting and campaigning for polls? Apology does not mean the potential voters will disregard the comment. The un-level playing field cannot be leveled by an apology.

from:  Swaroop N S
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 12:02 IST

He has hurt all, mere regret will not heal the wound inflicted. He has belied the popular belief that he was a gentleman among the crooked crop of politicians. He seems to have joined hands with the extremely unpopular alliance in power (widely believed as the coterie of minorities looting the country using 'divide and rule the fools'. You know who the fools are! The misrule is wrapped in the hypocritical doctrines of 'secularism and inclusive growth'. Sweet poison being served to the nation!

from:  VMN Sharma
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 11:52 IST

We are in a Country where people in high places commit blunders and, when countered, try to find ways, mostly foul, to escape the logical outcome.They presume absence of accountability and carry on impudently again and again. In fact, accountability is indeed a low priority in general.
It is ironical for a Law Minister to flout laws thereby doing the preplanned damage and then regret."Sorry" also need to have its boundaries for, if it not so, it will be very comfortable to folly and then regret to get scot free. Had a member of a non-ruling party done so. explanations might not have been accepted. In the instant case, what further EC does is to be watched. May be the matter is ended but that would not be an objective action.

from:  Kapil Sopory
Posted on: Feb 14, 2012 at 11:52 IST
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