New Delhi, Feb 16 (ANI): The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday lashed out at Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma for reigniting the row over minority reservation in Uttar Pradesh.
Reacting over Verma's statement on minority quota, BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad criticized the Congress and other regional parties for participating in communal politics.
"It is very unfortunate that national parties or big provincial parties cannot think beyond communal considerations. Every community and sphere in Uttar Pradesh is need of development. Members of Congress party are all in the race to become leaders of the minority communities in the most unconstitutional and illegal manner, it is very regrettable," Prasad told the media here.
"Muslims need security, development and education and it is their right. However, it is very unfortunate to witness this race in the name of favouritism. If Beni Prasad Verma has repeated this by issuing a statement in a public domain, then I think that the Election Commission should take actions," he added.
Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh had earlier in the day defended Verma's statement, and said that the promise of reservation was incorporated in the party's election manifesto.
"Reservation of minorities is an election promise made once in 2009, Congress election manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections. Again it is a part of our election manifesto for the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections that we shall give reservation to the backward Muslims, backward minorities," Singh told the media in Lucknow.
"So I think, by saying or mentioning the election promise made in the election manifesto, I am sure it is not a violation of Code of Conduct," he added.
Earlier, addressing a rally in Farrukhabad, Beni Prasad Verma said, "We will make sure that enhanced reservation is given to backwards and the minorities if the Congress Party comes to power in Uttar Pradesh."
He also said that Muslims have not got their dues and added that non-Congress governments in the state have done nothing to improve their lot.
Verma said that he was least bothered about the Election Commission taking action against him on his statement.
Earlier, Law Minister Salman Khurshid had promised an increase of nine per cent sub-quota for Muslims within the 27 percent reservation meant for Other Backward Classes (OBC).
The Election Commission thereafter issued a notice to Khurshid, saying his remarks had violated the Model Code of Conduct.
It sought the "immediate and decisive" intervention of President Pratibha Devisingh Patil after it charged Khurshid with "improper and unlawful" defiance of its orders under which he was censured for promising a sub-quota for minorities.
President Patil sent the Election Commission's complaint against Khurshid to the Prime Minister's Office for appropriate action.
However, the Election Commission put a lid on the standoff after Khurshid expressed regret for his defiance of the poll body. (ANI)
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