NEW DELHI: Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid was issued a notice on Tuesday by the Election Commission for a speech that he delivered at Farrukhabad in Uttar Pradesh on Monday, wherein he promised “a 9 per cent sub quota for backward Muslims if the Congress is voted to power in the state”. Khurshid was campaigning for his wife, Louise, who is contesting from the Farrukhabad Assembly seat.
The BJP took umbrage at the statement and a party delegation, comprising party vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, party spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman, and party MP Balbir Punj, met Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi on Tuesday seeking action against the Minister as “Khurshid had violated the model code of conduct”.
A full bench of the Election Commission met on Tuesday evening and decided to serve a notice on Khurshid based on BJP’s complaint. He has been ask to reply before 5 pm on Thursday.
After the model code of conduct comes into effect, policy decisions or announcements (that are not part of the party election manifesto) that can influence voters in the ruling party’s favour are not allowed.
Meanwhile in a suo motu action, the Uttar Pradesh election authorities served a show-cause on his wife “to explain within three days the statements made by her husband while campaigning in her favour”.
This led to a war of words between the BJP and the Congress. After meeting the EC, Naqvi said: “The Congress is trying to create communal tension in UP and the country by announcing increase in the sub-quota for Muslims”. “The announcement made by the Law Minister is in violation of the model code of conduct and is unconstitutional,” he said.
Khurshid stood by his remarks and dismissed the BJP criticism.