EC entitled to petition President: Khurshid
However, Salman Khurshid also said that the quota promise was part of the Congress party's poll manifesto.
New Delhi: Breaking his silence on the Election Commission's directive against him, Law minister Salman Khurshid on Sunday said that the Constitutional institution is entitled to petition President. He also said that the quota promise is part of Congress party's manifesto.
The EC had last night sought the 'immediate and decisive' intervention of the President after it charged Khurshid with 'improper and unlawful' defiance of its orders under which he was censured for promising sub-quota for minorities. The President has sent that letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The Prime Minister is expected to ask Khurshid to explain his stand.
In a strongly-worded communication to Patil, the Commission had said Khurshid's action could "vitiate free and fair polls" in Uttar Pradesh and that the EC was "perturbed because the undermining of its constitutionally-mandated duties has come from the Law Minister who has direct responsibility to uphold and strengthen the EC rather than to denigrate it".
The Commission took the unprecedented decision to complain against a union minister to the President after Khurshid had told an election rally in UP on Friday night that he would continue to pursue the line on nine percent sub-quota for minorities 'even if they (EC) hang me'.
The Congress has also reportedly pulled up Law Minister Salman Khurshid for taking on the Election Commission saying it expected its leaders to respect and work within parameters of the Constitution and institutions.
Sources told CNN-IBN that the government or the Law Minister was expected to issue a clarification saying that he never meant to show any disrespect to the EC, that he valued the Commission as an institution and that his promise of a sub-quota for Muslims was a policy decision that had nothing to do with the elections in Uttar Pradesh. Khurshid is even expected to tender an apology to the EC.
Khurshid had earlier been censured for the same statement made on January 8 while campaigning in UP, with EC holding it as violative of the Model Code of Conduct.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh said, "If a political party cannot campaign on the issues pr promises mentioned in its manifesto, on what matters can it do? Salman Khurshid has only repeated the promise in the manifesto."
(With additional inputs from PTI)
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