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.