New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is likely to discuss with senior ministers and party leaders the Election Commission complaint against Law Minister Salman Khurshid for his “aggressive” stance on quota for Muslims in Uttar Pradesh, Congress insiders said Monday.
Khurshid, who Sunday spoke to Manmohan Singh on the issue, is also likely to issue a clarification on his stance. Congress sources said the prime minister was likely to discuss the issue with senior ministers and party leaders before Khurshid’s statement, which will clarify that there was no defiance or confrontation with the poll panel.
Khurshid had told the prime minister that there was no question of defiance and he was ready to accept whatever decision taken, Congress sources told IANS. They added that the party did not want to be seen as defying a constitutional body like the Election Commission. On Sunday, party spokesperson Janardhan Dwivedi said: “The Congress wants that all Congressmen speak as per norms of public life and law of the land.”
The Election Commission Saturday wrote to President Pratibha Patil complaining about the law minister’s “defiant” attitude on his remarks on minority quota. This followed Khurshid’s election rally in Farrukhabad Friday where he reiterated his promise for increasing the sub-quota for minorities if the Congress was voted to power.
“If they want to hang me they can, they can hang me for committing to people for a quota…We will change the fate of the poor, even if we have to go against Election Commission, we will change the fate of the poor,” Khurshid had said then.
“I will then come and stand in front of the court of the people and fight my case. I want to stand in the court of the people and ask, ‘Isn’t it the right of the people’?” he had said at Farrukhabad, where his wife Louise Khurshid is the Congress candidate for the state assembly polls.
The poll panel in its letter to Patil said: “The commission is shocked that instead of being remorseful about the violation of the model code, that carries the consensus of all political parties and the sanction of the Supreme Court, the minister has chosen to be defiant and aggressive. This is unprecedented.”
The president forwarded the commission’s letter to the Prime Minister’s Office for “appropriate action”. The BJP, led by its senior leader L.K. Advani, has accused Khurshid of playing vote bank politics and demanded his sacking by the prime minister.