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Cong disowns quota, Batla remarks of Salman, Digvijaya

In a surprise move, the Congress today disowned controversial statements of Union law minister Salman Khurshid and party general secretary Digvijaya Singh on promise of 9% sub-quota for OBC Muslims in UP and Batla House encounter in Delhi. No regrets over statement on sub-quota: Khurshid | Want justice for Batla House encounter accused: Digvijaya

delhi Updated: Jan 13, 2012 21:52 IST
Batla House encounter,news,digvijaya singh

In a surprise move, the Congress on Friday disowned controversial statements of union minister Salman Khurshid and party general secretary Digvijaya Singh on minority reservation and Batla House encounter.

Facing a barrage of questions at the AICC media briefing, party spokesperson Rashid Alvi told reporters that Khurshid's promise of 9% sub-quota for OBC Muslims in Uttar Pradesh was his "individual" view.

Seeking to disapprove of Digvijaya Singh's claim that the 2008 gun fight of Delhi Police with suspected terrorists was 'fake', Alvi said the Congress supports government's stand on Batla House encounter.

On his part Khurshid, who is law and minority affairs minister, maintained he had no regrets on what he had said on the sub-quota for OBC Muslims. He also said he has not done anything unlawful by his statement on granting 9% quota for minorities.

Alvi merely said that there was "inner party democracy in our party".

"It is an individual view. It would be better if you ask Khurshid for his reaction in the matter. There is inner party democracy in our party", was Alvi's response to a host of questions including whether the party saw nothing wrong with the Minister's statement.

Signalling that the party was not happy with Singh again speaking on the Batla House issue, Alvi said that there had been a nationwide debate after the 2008 incident, which is a "very sensitive matter"

"People have different opinions on the issue and no one should do politics on the matter", he said evading direct replies to several questions a day after home minister P Chidambaram's assertion that the encounter was "genuine".

The remarks came amidst report that chief election commissioner SY Quraishi had complained to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about Khurshid's earlier statement suggesting the Law Ministry's control over the Election Commission.

Khurshid made the promise of nine% sub-quota for Muslims within the existing 27% OBC quota in Farrukhabad Assembly Constituency in Uttar Pradesh where his wife Louise is in the fray.

He was slapped with a notice on Tuesday by the Election Commission which held that prima facie his promise on sub-quota for backward Muslims within existing 27% OBC quota was "serious violation" of the model code of conduct.

He replied to the notice on Thursday, defending his statement by citing the 2009 Congress poll manifesto in which the party had promised to provide for a sub-quota for minorities.

First Published: Jan 13, 2012 20:25 IST