‘Not mocking, just calling for a debate’

March 15, 2014 01:17 am | Updated November 16, 2021 06:26 pm IST - LONDON:

Minister for External Affairs Salman Khurshid denied that he had “mocked” the Election Commission during a talk he delivered at the School of Oriental and African Studies here on Wednesday.

He was referring to reports in the Indian media that he had “used a mocking tone” while speaking about the EC and the Supreme Court.

“I have a serious concern, and wanted a serious discussion about democracy. Surely, the code of conduct does not say that you cannot have a difference of opinion,” he told Indian journalists on the sidelines of a meeting of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group here on Friday.

“As a politician, if I stand up in an area where there is no drinking water, can I say ‘we will give you drinking water,’ or should I say, ‘no, I cannot tell you if we will give you drinking water,’ because the code of conduct does not allow me to. We want to discuss this,” he said.

Mr. Khurshid said the code should be targeted at those who were “illegitimately influencing” the voter through freebies, which distorted an election. “If a person is dying of cancer and I put him in my car and take him to hospital, will I be seen as influencing the voter? Honestly, I do not know.”

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