EC row: Ticked off by Cong, Khurshid calls up PM | india | Hindustan Times
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EC row: Ticked off by Cong, Khurshid calls up PM

As the Congress distanced itself from law minister Salman Khurshid's remarks against the Election Commission, he spoke to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday to “clarify” his position. Shekhar Iyer reports. Cong pulls up Khurshid | Oppn up in arms, EC writes to Prez | Vote: Should Khurshid be banned from UP polls?

india Updated: Feb 13, 2012 08:46 IST
Shekhar Iyer

As the Congress distanced itself from law minister Salman Khurshid's remarks against the Election Commission, he spoke to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday to “clarify” his position. Khurshid told the PM there was no question of his “defying” the poll body but his promise of the Muslim quota was part of the Congress party's manifesto.

Khurshid is understood to have conveyed to the PM that he had no intention of showing any disrespect to the EC and “whatever decision the PM takes on the matter was acceptable” to him, sources said.

Khurshid's call to the PM came as the EC had on Saturday taken the unprecedented decision to complain against a union minister to the President after Khurshid had told an election rally in Uttar Pradesh that he would continue to pursue implementation of the 9% sub-quota for minorities in government jobs and education “even if they (EC) hang me.”

President Pratibha Patil had forwarded the EC’s complaint to the Prime Minister.

The PM is expected to discuss the issue with other senior colleagues. Khurshid might be advised to convey his "regrets" to the EC to end the row. But some Congress leaders feel that if he resigns over the issue, the party could benefit from such a decision.

Earlier, Janardan Dwivedi, Congress general secretary and media department chairman, said in a statement on Sunday, “The Election Commission is a constitutional body. The Congress always wants that all Congressmen should speak as per the norms of public life and the law of the land.”

Soon after Dwivedi's statement, Khurshid defended himself, saying that while the EC might be entitled to move the President against him, his promise of a quota for Muslims, deemed by the EC as a violation of the model code of conduct, was part of the Congress party's manifesto.

Khurshid had also reiterated that reservation for backward Muslims could not be provided due to the ongoing assembly elections but would be implemented after the polls are over. “The issue has nothing to do with elections and it's an issue of governance. I have only said what is there in the Congress manifesto and that the Election Commission is perfectly entitled to what it has done.”

Asked to comment on Dwivedi's remarks, Khurshid said, “I am saying the same thing —everyone should remain within his limits.”

Congress leader Digvijaya Singh came to Khurshid's defence, saying “every political party has the right to talk about its programmes during election campaigns and it was not correct to press charges like these against political leaders.”

Khurshid has disrespected EC: SPvideo|