BJP slams Khurshid over quota quote
Attacking Law Minister Salman Khurshid over his defiant stand on a quota for backward Muslims in Uttar Pradesh, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley yesterday accused the Congress leaders of indulging in communal politics for votes.
Drawing swords: Law Minister Salman Khurshid said he would continue
to pursue the line on 9 per cent sub-quota for minorities 'even if they (EC)
hang me'. File pic
"There is a method to this politics, divide the society on religion and get votes. It seems Congress leaders have lost their mental balance and are doing things in desperation," he said.
Appeal to vote bank
Linking the UP elections to recent incidents, Jaitley said: "First Salman Rushdie was stopped from attending the literary festival in Jaipur. The fact that Salman Rushdie was prevented from coming to Jaipur or even addressing festival on video link was clear indication of Congress succumbing before fundamentalists."
Attacking the Congress, he said that there was no place for religious base reservations under the law.
"Despite that, the central government announced 4.5 per cent reservation for Muslims and now law minister kept saying to increase it to 9 percent," Jaitley said.
He said that Khurshid's announcement that party president Sonia Gandhi cried at seeing pictures of Batla House gunfight was an attempt to get votes of fundamentalists.
"When the union home ministry has clearly said that Batla House was a genuine encounter and it badly affected terror outfit Indian Mujahideen, bringing down number of blast incidents in the country. But Khurshid and Digvijaya Singh have kept questioning it," he said.
He asked had any Congress leader cried for those killed in 26/11 Mumbai attacks or at the death of security personnel in 2011 Parliament attack.
Jaitley's comments came after the Election Commission (EC) on Saturday night sought the "immediate and decisive" intervention of the President. The EC charged Khurshid with "improper and unlawful" defiance of its orders under which he was censured for promising sub-quota for minorities.
Taking it to the Prez
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 9 per cent sub-quota for minorities 'even if they (EC) hang me'.
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.
TV reports say the minister spoke to the PM over the phone yesterday evening, denying he had defied the EC.