Hurt by Union law minister Salman Khurshid’s defiance of poll code, the Election Commission (EC) has sought President Pratibha Devisingh Patil’s “decisive intervention” to ensure elections in Uttar Pradesh are conducted in accordance with law.
"The President has forwarded the EC’s letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for “appropriate action”," Rashtrapati Bhawan spokesperson said.
The EC took the step, first in its 51 years of existence, after Khurshid’s statement on Friday that he will ensure 9% sub-quota for Muslims even if “EC hangs him”, a day after the poll body censured him for making similar promise in the election bound state.
“The commission is shocked that instead of being remorseful of earlier violation of the mode code, the minister has chosen to be defiant and aggressive,” Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi wrote to President.
“The tone and tenor of the minister is dismissive and utterly contemptuous about the Commission’s lawful direction to him”.
Terming the situation arising out of his conduct as “disturbing” and “unprecedented, the commission said the minister’s action could “vitiate free and fair polls” and was perturbed that the law minister --- mandated to strengthen the EC – was undermining its Constitutional authority.
The commission also said that the delicate balance of functions between the Constitutional authorities has come under strain because of the minister’s “improper” and “unlawful” action. “The EC finds it necessary and unavoidable to turn to you for immediate and decisive intervention,” the letter said.
The law minister took a dig at EC at an election rally in Farukkabad, from where his wife Louise is a Congress candidate, leading to the BJP demanding a ban on him to campaign in UP. “Even after the EC’s decision over the unconstitutional move, the Law minister has been challenging the constitutional body,” BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, in the complaint to EC.
A few hours later Quraishi sought President’s intervention.