Home India Politics BJP for Khurshid’s removal, Congress reaction mixed

BJP for Khurshid’s removal, Congress reaction mixed


New Delhi : The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Monday demanded the sacking of union Law Minister Salman Khurshid for “denigrating” the Election Commission over his promise for quota for minorities in Uttar Pradesh. The Congress spoke in different voices on the issue, with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee saying the prime minister was seized of the matter.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar too joined the BJP in slamming Khurshid on a day Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Harish Rawat rallied in support of the minister against whom the poll panel has lodged a complaint with President Pratibha Patil.

Mukherjee told reporters in Allahabad that the prime minister was seized of the matter and as and when action is taken, it will be known.

He also repeated the party’s stance that “people occupying posts of responsibility should speak responsibly”.

“Let me make it clear, this is not a party issue, though Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi has already made the party’s stand clear that people occupying posts of responsibility should behave responsibly,” Mukherjee said.

The BJP kept up pressure for Khurshid’s removal, accused the Congress of denigrating constitutional authorities, and questioned the silence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on the letter written by the poll panel.

BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said Khurshid was unrepentant about his remarks that a “sub-quota” be reserved for minorities — despite being censured by the Election Commission.

“Even after a week, Kurshid is unrepentant and is actually defiant. This is an example of vote-bank politics, communal politics, corrupt politics that denigrates all constitutional authorities,” Javadekar said.

“Khurshid cannot continue as a minister and make a mockery of law,” he added.

Nitish Kumar said in Patna that Khurshid’s defiant comments “was a very serious issue” and the poll panel should adopt a tougher line.

“If it (Election Commission) is convinced, it should adopt tougher measures,” he said.

Taking a dig at the Congress, he said its own ministers were defying the poll panel, adding that the prime minister should take action.

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who was campaigning in Rae Bareli Monday, expressed hope that the row will be sorted out.

“These things do happen during elections… One is free to voice his opinion during elections. So is the Election Commission… Hope the matter will be sorted out,” Priyanka said.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Harish Rawat said Khurshid was chairperson of the party’s manifesto drafting committee in Uttar Pradesh and was seeking to put forth its “product” before people.

Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari stuck to the party position that “all the Congressmen should speak as per norms of public life and law of the land”. He also suggested that the model code of conduct for polls could be made statutory by the poll panel during its discussions on electoral reforms with political parties.

The poll panel last week censured Khurshid for saying that a nine percent job quota would be given to minorities, including backward Muslims, from the 27 percent Other Backward Classes (OBC) quota if Congress took power in Uttar Pradesh.

A day later, Khurshid triggered a fresh controversy saying he will ensure rights to “pasmanda” (backward Muslims) even if he was “hanged” by the poll panel.

Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi Saturday wrote to President Pratibha Patil saying Khurshid’s remarks were “utterly contemptuous” of the poll panel.