Unfazed by the notice sent by the Election Commission, Law Minister Salman Khurshid on Wednesday maintained that he had not violated the model code of conduct.
“I have not violated the model code of conduct. I have a right to put forth my view. It should reach the people,” he told reporters here on Wednesday.
“It means that we should not bring out a manifesto, not deliver a speech and sit back at home and elections should be held without all these,” he asked.
Mr. Khurshid said, “It’s a notice, not an order to shoot at someone. Mulayam Singh spoke of 18 per cent and 28 per cent quota. Ask him from where he will get 18 per cent quota. We have implemented it at the Central level. If we come to power in UP we will do so in the state as well“.
“The Sachar Committee and the Ranganath Misra Commission have recommended 8.5 per cent quota for Muslims. What is wrong if I talk about nine per cent reservation for them,” he said.
Mr. Khurshid said that religion-based census was being done, on completion of which number of castes included in other backward class list would become clear.
He said that in every state reservation would be given to minorities from the quota of other backward classes in ratio with their population.
Holding prima facie his promise of nine per cent sub-quota for backward Muslims as a “serious violation” of the Model Code of Conduct, the EC on Tuesday slapped a show-cause notice on Mr. Khurshid, asking why action should not be taken against him.
The EC notice capped a day of raging controversy over his comments in Farrukhabad, where his wife Louise is contesting as a Congress candidate for the Assembly polls, after which BJP met the Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi and demanded action against him.
A show cause notice was separately served on Louise by the Election authorities, asking her to explain why action should not be taken against her.
The Law minister while campaigning in Farrukhabad had on Sunday promised to the electorate that if Congress is voted to power in the state it would enhance the sub-quota to Muslims to 9 per cent within the 27 per cent quota for Other Backward Classes (OBCs).
The manner in which notice is being issued indicates that the Election Commission lack basic fundamentals about the polls, Mr. Khurshid alleged while talking to reporters here.
The Minister also termed as “wrong” the Election Commission’s order of covering the statues of BSP symbol and its supremo.
On a question whether Rahul Gandhi could be the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Mr. Khurshid said that there were other posts as well.
He said that if Congress comes to power in the state then CM would be of Mr. Gandhi’s choice.