NEW DELHI: Accusing Congress of playing up the minority reservation issue in Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, BJP today demanded the sacking of Law Minister Salman Khurshid for sticking to his stand on the issue despite his censure by the Election Commission.
Khurshid had yesterday addressed an election rally in Khatakpur locality of Farrukhabad, saying even if the "(Election) Commission hangs him or does anything else", he would ensure that members of backward muslim (pasmanda) community get their rights.
Attacking Congress for raising the backward minorities issue in the elections, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said "it is only vote bank politics".
He said the minorities reservation is not on the basis of religion but on the basis of communities who are backward.
"What was the need of talking about nine per cent reservation ahead of Uttar Pradesh elections...It is not nine per cent but nine out of 27 per cent. This is an attempt to make 33 per cent reservation out of the backward reservation quota on the basis of religion," he said while campaigning in Lucknow.
BJP leaders also raised the pitch for Khurshid's sacking as a minister for "defying" and "insulting" a constitutional authority by sticking to his stand despite his censure from the poll body for violating the model code of conduct.
BJP vice president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, who on his party's behalf filed the complaint against Khurshid before the EC, said "the Prime Minister should expel such type of minister who is openly defying the Constitution and constitutional authority and conspiring to destory the social harmony of the country on caste and communal grounds."
Naqvi said "this is a crime against the Constitution. The Law minister is challenging the Constitution. He is openly threatening to do an unconstitutional religion-based reservation...It is not only a crime against the Constitution, it also threatens to destroy the social fabric of the nation."
Charging Khurshid with "insulting" the Election Commission, a constitutional body, BJP leader Balbir Punj said "it is the government's duty that the Election Commission's dignity is maintained. And here is a minister responsible for upholding the dignity of the EC, the same minister is not only defying it but also insulting it...the Prime minister should take note of this and should remove the Law minister from the cabinet."
Earlier, Union Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal came to the support of his colleague and said Khurshid had done nothing wrong in talking about reservation to backward minorities.
The Election Commission had censured Khurshid for his remarks on sub-quota for minorities, finding them to be a violation of the model code of conduct for elections and warned Khurshid against repeating his action.
The EC order had come on BJP's complaint about Khurshid's remarks, asking the Commission to take action against him for violation of model code of conduct.
BJP spokerperson Prakash Javadekar also attacked Khurshid for his sub-quota remarks and said "it is unbecoming of a Law Minister to belittle law and denigrate constitutional authorities...If the Law minister does not show any respect for law and legal authorities, he has no right to remain as Law Minister... It also shows the exasperation and desparation of the Congress."