Khurshid-EC row: FM frowns, Cong plays it down | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Khurshid-EC row: FM frowns, Cong plays it down

delhi Updated: Feb 14, 2012 01:36 IST
HT Correspondents

Congress leader and finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Monday disapproved of the spat between law minister Salman Khurshid and the Election Commission, saying the party had already made it clear that people occupying responsible posts should behave responsibly.

Mukherjee's statement is being viewed as the ruling party's reiteration of the importance it gives to the poll panel, amid indications that Khurshid could issue a statement soon to clarify the entire issue and put a lid to the controversy.

The opposition parties, led by the BJP continued to target Khurshid, with party president Nitin Gadkari calling him as a "lawless minister."

Many Congress leaders, including star campaigner Priyanka Gandhi Vadra played down the issue in a bid to prevent the controversy from overshadowing other important poll issues in Uttar Pradesh.

"Let me make it clear that this is not a party issue, though Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi has already made the party's stand clear that people occupying posts of responsibility should behave responsibly," Mukherjee told reporters in Allahabad.

Asked whether the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), which has received the EC complaint against Khurshid, was likely to take any action, Mukherjee replied :"The Prime Minister is seized of the matter. As and when any action is taken, it will be known to all people."

Khurshid has been at the centre of a controversy following his promise that the Congress will provide 9% quota for Muslims if voted to power in UP.

The EC called his remarks as a violation of the model code of conduct but Khurshid said he was ready to be hanged for fighting for the rights of the minorities, which prompted the EC to write a letter to President Pratibha Patil on on Saturday.

In Rae Bareli, Priyanka said, "These things do happen during elections... One is free to voice his opinion during elections. So is the Election Commission," she said.

In Delhi, party spokesperson Manish Tewari said the issue "should not be stretched too far." Human resources development minister Kapil Sibal hoped the matter would be resolved soon.