Mandal 2 muddle
The EC asked HRD Minister Arjun Singh to explain why he violated the code of conduct when five states were in the middle of polls.india Updated: Apr 11, 2006 09:23 IST
The Election Commission on Saturday asked HRD Minister Arjun Singh to explain why he violated the code of conduct by proposing reservations in educational institutions when five states were in the middle of polls.
The EC said the minister's statements on the quota proposal "amounts to new concessions to certain sections of the electorate" in the five states. It asked for an explanation by 5 p.m. on Monday.
President APJ. Abdul Kalam has also made his views on the controversial proposal known. At a function at Rashtrapati Bhawan, the president said his "mission is to increase the number of seats in the institutions of higher learning so that reservations become irrelevant and the problem is solved".
Amidst speculation that Kalam was being critical of the proposal, his spokesman clarified that the president had not opposed reservations specifically.
Attempting a balancing act, the BJP said the proposal would "discourage merit and damage India's reputation as a talent hub". The proposal was the result of Congress's "intra-party war" and "one-upmanship" against the PM, the BJP said.
In Kolkata, Congress general secretary Margaret Alva admitted that bright students would be affected.