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Updated: February 17, 2012 02:56 IST

Now Beni Prasad throws a challenge

J. Balaji
Comment (27)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
A file photo of Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma.
The Hindu
A file photo of Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma.

The Election Commission on Thursday asked the Chief Electoral Officer of Uttar Pradesh to send a better quality CD containing the speech of Union Steel Minister and Congress leader Beni Prasad Verma, wherein he had allegedly challenged the EC's authority in the ruling on the sub-quota for minorities issue (against Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid).

“We went through the alleged speech of the Minister made in Farukkhabad in Uttar Pradesh. As the audio quality of the CD was not good, the CEO has been asked to send a fresh CD with improved quality. We will take appropriate decision after that,” a senior EC official told The Hindu.

Media reports said Mr. Verma, while speaking at an election meeting, attended by Mr. Khurshid and Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh, had allegedly referred to the strictures against Mr. Khurshid by the EC, and said: “Reservation for Muslims will be increased, and if the EC wants, it can now issue a notice to me.”

Mr. Verma is also said to have supported Mr. Khurshid, saying he was honestly fighting for the Muslims. If the Congress captured power, it would work for more reservation, he said.

Sources said the EC's decision not to take any further action against Mr. Khurshid was justifiable as following its complaint to President Pratibha Patil, within 36 hours the Minister came down and regretted his remarks.

Meanwhile, BJP senior leader Vijay Goel wondered why the EC was soft on Mr. Khurshid instead of filing a case against him for violating the model code. He charged the Congress with continuing with its campaign against a constitutional authority like the EC. Had the EC acted tough, Mr. Verma would not have advocated reservation for the Muslims. His remarks only betrayed that Mr. Khurshid's speech was not his personal one but a well-thought out Congress game plan, Mr. Goel said.

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I think the EC should be empowered to take action against self serving polititians like Salman Khurshid and Beni Prasad Verma for violating the model code of conduct that is in effect. The idea of reservation for backward communities is not wrong though, but it should not be based on a religious basis but on economic basis, i.e if families living below the poverty line , their children should be given reservation to help them come out of poverty. There is no point providing rich Muslims, rich Dalits with reservation as they are not in poverty and are able to avail of the facilities because they have the funds with them to make the best available to themselves.

from:  JRK
Posted on: Feb 18, 2012 at 16:06 IST

It is very sad to see MINISTERS of the Govt of India apparently undermining constitutional bodies set up with the objectives of promoting and protecting democracy, and doing so knowingly, wilfully, blatantly and repeatedly. One hopes the apparent helplessness of the Indian Govt does not promote an image of 'a lawless and undemocratic country' around the world.

from:  D Mahapatra
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 14:28 IST

Beni Prasad is throwing "challenge" to EC is because he knows EC has no powers to take action against him and EC can only complain to president about the matter, then the ball will come to PMO's court which never takes any action wrt the complaint. So until EC is empowered, these communal agenda's continue and any local minister will keep on challenging the EC.

from:  Ravi kumar Reddy
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 12:00 IST

@ Mr.Ram... You gave a valid solution here. I found such practice in Indonesia, when I visited during an election period. It was a total different experience from what we have in India, no mettings in the middle of the road till midnight, no posters on the walls. It was so very formal, not like the 'fish market' meetings like we have in India. Everyday evening for 3 or 4 hours you have election propaganda in the TV, all private channels telecast it. What more, all the leaders of their respective political parties were present in the studio, including the Presidential Candidates! They got the chance to explain in turns! It was formal and informal, so very different from what I had experienced in India. We call ourselves the biggest democracy in the world, but fail to add.... WE ARE THE WORST TOO..!

from:  Jaya Prakash
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 09:35 IST

Is the EC powerless ? Can it not disbar a candidate who flouted the rules ? I am surprised.

from:  Kumar
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 08:55 IST

The Congress is out to undermine every idependent authority in this country. It is increasingly showing arrogance by challenging every pillar of a functioning democracy including the CAG, the Supreme Court (remember the argument that courts have no role to play in an executive decision like 2G allocation) and now the EC. However to me, these are signs of desperation from a party and government that knows it has nothing to show in terms of achievements and therefore has to resort to every dirty trick possible to get votes.I hope that the EC this once takes a firm stand against Mr. Verma, if indeed the allegations against him are found to be true.

from:  Vaibhav
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 07:42 IST

If this is true and the election commission is convinced, it should stop all the process for election in the country and after a cooling period or after the central Govt. passes such a bill for the whole of country, which legally maintained, then conduct elections.

from:  P.S. Sridharan
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 07:01 IST

The CEC committed a grave mistake in letting off Khursheed so lightly. A reprimand works for morally responible people, the kind of which are as ancient in congress party as dinosaurs are to earth. A reprimand, a petition to President , who ultimately is "advised" by cabinet, will never get a prosecution against any of the cabinet ministers. CEC should have firstly cancelled Mrs Khursheed's candidacy in her constituency for violation of model code. The repeat offence should have invited a stricter response of cancelling candidacy of the political party which is hellbent on subverting every constitutional body in india. Further more it appears that EC is soft on union cabinet ministers and they just reprimand them. whereas a small time party like MNS when it questioned the ruling of EC, was threatened with registration being cancelled.

from:  Aniket Sinkar
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 06:28 IST

What Anil says in the first comment here makes a lot of sense. EC should seriously consider his suggestion.

from:  D. Chandramouli
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 03:36 IST

Because of the inaction of the EC over the past comments of the politicians, now all the political leaders would do the same. The EC is destroying the Democracy of this nation by not taking appropriate action. Is it afraid to take action due to the invisible but seemingly powerful hand over it. The EC is setting a very wrong and dangerous precedent. Tomorrow would you pardon the common man of this nation if he just gives in an apology after doing something wrong???

from:  Murli. K.
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 00:27 IST

How low our elected parliamentarian going day by day. At least we can not expect in our democracy.when Our honourable Election commission already done a complaint to president for Law minister salman khursid 9% sub-Quota minority statement in rally.Our Rural minister Jairam Ramesh did the same mistake. And latest in this row is Beni Prasad Verma remarks on the minorities
sub-quota daring the poll body during a rally in Farrukhabad on Wednesday night were another violation of the model code of conduct.We Common people are not against upliftment of any cast, creed,sect, religion but there is a proper way to deal with that.There is some code of conduct which is authorised by our supreme Election commission for free, fair, and unbiased Election that should be followed by Each and Every Party.Certaintly these acts act are detrimental for our democrecy,our unity and our secularism, which must be dealt strictly.

from:  SANJEEV
Posted on: Feb 16, 2012 at 23:26 IST

the only solution to such remarks,if possible, is to bar such element which are nothing else than the source of religous incitment from election compaign and such other government services. In one way if we could see they are playing with the religious sentiments of the minorities and other classes on the platform of reservation.

from:  Nitin Suhag
Posted on: Feb 16, 2012 at 22:31 IST

I think there is nothing wrong in telling people about reservation as it is a part of the manifesto. If we recall, during Tamil Nadu state elections each party had promised the voters TV, refrigerator, laptops, grinders and what not if they came to power. If that is acceptable as a method to woo voters then we must accept Congress party providing reservations to Muslims as well. We all know that political candidtes promise a thousand things during campaigning and all of them cannot be kept. This too could be one of the myriads of promises made and ther should be no hue and cry over what is just an assurance. If it indeed becomes a reality then people may throw such a government out of power.

from:  Girish S
Posted on: Feb 16, 2012 at 22:30 IST

It is very deplorable that the EC has once again proved itself to be a paper tiger and devastatingly failed in its obligations in punishing the violaters of code of conduct on the eve of elections.

from:  Anthony Rao.Reddy
Posted on: Feb 16, 2012 at 22:26 IST

Following the heels of Salman Kursheed, the Union Law Minister,who was let off the hook with a mild apology, another senior Minister in the Centre has chosen to make a statement regarding reservation for the minorities and has even dared the EC to issue him a notice if it wants. This is another instance of blatant violation of the model Code of Conduct. If after enquiries , the Commission is convinced of the truth of the statement by the Minister, the only proper line of action would be to disqualify the Minister both as a member of the legislature as well as well as ministership for some period to be decided upon by the EC. There would appear to be no need to refer the matter to the President as, in my humble opinion, the EC is fully empowered to take action as suggested herein. Any soft option like tendering an apology as in the previous case will not meet the ends of justice. This is the only way by which one can instill some discipline among our errant politicians.

from:  T.S..Sreenivasan
Posted on: Feb 16, 2012 at 21:40 IST

Let us take this particular episode,when EC finds fault censured the present law minister makes a speech, next day with impunity the law minister makes another vitriolic speech and frontal attack on EC itself. Full EC meets and make very strong complaint to the president of the Republic of India for strong action. As per the rules it was forwarded to the Prime Minister of the Republic of India and the head of the Cabinet of ministers. The next we hear that the law minister sends an half page letter expressing regrets for his utterances to the EC on a letter head of a cabinet and a law minister the Government of India. This raises several issues, a)Presidential communication a privileged document and the law minister is involved with anther constitutional apex body and it was denigrated and is tenable? b) weather the law minister is pulled up by the PM? c)can the case can be closed without any visible punitive action so that set an example to others? Now anther minister following... no END?

from:  B S J Swamy
Posted on: Feb 16, 2012 at 21:37 IST

When the election comes lots promises and lots agitated speaches and lots political killing to get the sympathy from people and lots of road blocking rallys to make a hell of a time for travellers to travel by road and raises quota for some community and so on.I think in modern time we do not need this type stupidity to make people fool.Instead every party give some time in telivision and news papers to explain thier intention to do for our great nation for the next 5 years in the we can avoid lots problem people faceing in the election time. people of India not stupid they know how to seperate bad and good candidate from getting elected

from:  Thomas
Posted on: Feb 16, 2012 at 21:35 IST

The kind of arrogance shown by the leaders of congress specially the
three recent incidents first of Shalman khursid, then rahul tearing SP's manifesto, and now Bani prasad openly challenging the EC only shown what
is going to happen if they come to power in UP,they are crossing all
limits of audacity.the people of UP should give them a much deserved

from:  sachin dubey
Posted on: Feb 16, 2012 at 21:13 IST

If only all the poiticians agree to the proposal that election propaganda is through Radio and TV only. There should be no processions daily meetings bill boards advertisement through news papers etc No donations from individuals corporates Otherwise so long as the money power remains these ills will remain

from:  ram
Posted on: Feb 16, 2012 at 21:06 IST

It is pretty clear that the communal agenda of the congress is being
designed and implemented with sanction from the Congress high command.
It is sad to note that EC chose to easily let off Salman Khurshid, by
accepting a reluctant regret letter. EC's tame and meek response to
Salman Khurshid is bound to invite many more communal and divisive
agenda to be displayed in future too elsewhere in the nation. The way
Congress and SP are appeasing minorities, one gets the impression that
only Muslims exist in UP. This party which wants to give
constitutional authority to Lokpal(supposed to be a game changer),
consistently subverts and undermines EC a constitutional authority.
This nation can no longer tolerate this corrupt, and divisive regime,
which is willing to compromise the nation's security by pandering to
the interests of extremists and terrorists.

from:  C S Vadiraj
Posted on: Feb 16, 2012 at 20:28 IST

The frequency and audacity with which leaders of the Indian National
Congress are flouting the norms laid down by the constitution of India
and blatantly violating the law of the land during the sacrosanct
election process, raises serious questions about their perception of
the Indian political-legal system and whether they wish to treat it as
their personal property. Peacefully demonstrating anti-corruption
protesters are lathi-charged, and politicians treating our laws with
contempt in full public view are given a free reign. The Election
Commission really needs to take a very strong step to stop this and
send a strong message to the entire political community. It is most
unfortunate that the people who lead this country have such low
opinion of the electorate so as to try and influence them by violating
laws and disregarding constitutional directives. Most dangerously,
such cheap political stunts have a corrosive influence on communal
harmony and lead to polarizing of opinions.

from:  Vinayak Kishore
Posted on: Feb 16, 2012 at 19:16 IST

The scant regard shown by these politicians to the words of a Constitutional Authority seems to be catching up with Congress Netas like a wild fire. It is time stern action be taken by CEC to stop this with all the power in his hands.

from:  Balasubramanian
Posted on: Feb 16, 2012 at 18:41 IST

Ministers, the law makers! Assembly and Parliament, a place where the laws are made in India! As a common man I feel ashamed because I find these people, the so called law makers, and these places where the laws are made, breaking the law more than any one else, and feel more ashamed,because they always go scott free! WHY? Why should they get that immunity? Is it justified? Take the example of Karnataka Assembly, what would have happened if a common man was caught watching.... @#@#!!! what would have happened if a common had spoken something wrong? There are clear laws for that, and law would have taken its 'right' course, because it involves a common man! But when it involves a minister or the place where the laws are made, it goes impotent! As a common man and citizen of India, I feel more ashamed because our Ministers, the so called LAW MAKERS ARE SHAMELESS!

from:  Jaya Prakash
Posted on: Feb 16, 2012 at 18:18 IST

This shows that in our coutnry any minsiter can get away with taking
undue liberties with the constituional authorities. Further words
are superfluous.

from:  s subramanyan
Posted on: Feb 16, 2012 at 18:02 IST

Actually EC has no individual power against those in power except referring the matter to the President. And these ministers know that the ball ultimately will go the PM's court for action to be taken. And ultimately the Prime Minister shall tell them to regret for defiance of the EC. But their purpose is ultimately solved by the address, whatever happens afterward. EC can take solid and concrete action only against the candidates in the fray and not against the supporting actors. Curbing such menace is definitely a matter of hot discussion in and out of the Parliament and must be solved ASAP. The EC must be empowered to issue notice to such party and even disqualify the candidates in whose constituency such undemocratic statements are delivered.

from:  Jitendra Gupta
Posted on: Feb 16, 2012 at 18:01 IST

The Congress is issuing open challnges to the EC. It seems determined to split the county on the basis of religion.

from:  krishna
Posted on: Feb 16, 2012 at 17:21 IST

The election fever is again gripping country and as witnessed in various states.
It is observed that the space for free speech and activities is being reduced on one or other pretext during election. Actually during elections all rules should be loosened for vigorous discussions. After 15 general elections and number of state elections the population is mature enough to know what is good and bad.
The political parties as well as the media do make effort to churn the political environment by various methods; which is very natural! It is always hoped that by this churning some new thought, new pattern, new leader will emerge which will be representing the ‘whole’ (District, state, or Nation for the post of MP, Chief Minister, Prime Minister as the case may be.)
This was more or less the case till the election of 1991. That year the General election was held in two parts. The voting was done in 2 phases separated by a gap of 3 weeks. The results of the voting showed clear divide or separate choices by people who voted first from those who voted in 2nd Phase.
After 1991 it has become a norm to spread the election process as much long as possible . The result is that the general elections are spread over a period of 5-6 weeks. This is very long time. We know that the world is changing very fast and every effort is made to do things faster than previously done. The same applies to our thoughts, which are also changing very fast. The idea , concept, opinion which is very important, today, may lose importance suddenly ( for short time) because of new development. If the election is spread over a long period then people will be voting according to the situation at that time and place. In such event it is very difficult to fathom the exact meaning of the verdict and the wishes of people. It lowers the strength of the winner , in the sense that the winner cannot claim , without dispute, that the people have voted for a particular direction. The general election becomes a heterogeneous mix of results of state elections. Each state voting as per its local patterns and “any” national issue (felt important ) at that time.
One of the reasons for formation of coalition governments at the centre after 1991 may well be the staggered voting schedule running into several weeks.
The spacious reason given for this extended schedule is “1)security concerns. 2) to hold elections peacefully.” But with more resources at its disposal , India today is in a better position to conduct elections in one day than it was in 1950’s or 1960’s. In those days elections were held in one day and immediately afterwards counting of the votes used to start. It appears that, just because election commission does not want to exert itself , the elections are spread over ‘very very long extended’ period.
The elections should be lively & vigorous and holding those in one day will make all Indians to think and do one common thing i.e. “voting” ….at least for one day they will be united in action. Their thought processes and actions will be united.
It must be remembered that nobody keeps a dead body for company for the reason that ‘ it is peaceful’. We don’t need peaceful elections if the result does not represent the vibrant united soul of Indian people.

from:  ANIL P.
Posted on: Feb 16, 2012 at 17:13 IST
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