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EC censures Law Minister for violating model code of conduct

New Delhi, Fri, 10 Feb 2012 NI Wire

The Election Commission (EC) Thursday censured Union Law and Justice Minister Salman Khurshid for violating model code of conduct in the ongoing assembly election in Uttar Pradesh. The commission has slammed Salman Khursheed for his alleged announcement of implementing a nine per cent quota for minorities in the state in contrast to Indian National Congress's earlier announcement to bring a bill for implementing 4.5% quota for minorities in the country.

Salman had made this announcement in January in Farrukhbad when he was campaigning for his wife Louise Khurshid. The Election Commission (EC) has issued a notice for it.

The EC comprising Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi, Election Commissioner V S Sampath and H S Brahma have also warned Salman to not to violate the model code in future.

This is the first time in the country when a Union Law Minister is quashed by the EC.

In a 15 page order, EC stated, "The Commission has come to the inescapable conclusion that the respondent, Shri Salman Khurshid, made a new promise to a distinct targeted group of the electorate among the a Union Minister for Law and Minorities Affairs. Thus, Shri Salman Khurshid has violated the model code of conduct."

"A statement by the respondent (Khurshid) promising reservation of 9% seats, instead of 4.5% seats as announced by the Government of India, is undoubtedly a new promise during election period when the Model Code of Conduct is in operation," EC further said.

Recalling him that he is on a responsible position of Union Law and Justice Minister, he must have an added responsibility of obeying the law and to get follow the law, the EC slammed him by quoting, "As a Union minister for law and minority affairs, he has an added responsibility of ensuring that the model code of conduct is observed in letter and spirit so that elections are conducted in a free and fair manner and all political parties enjoy a level-playing field in the matter of their election campaigns."

Salman Khursheed who has submitted his clarification before the commission by stating that he was announcing there as being a mere congress leader not as a being a Union law minister, the election commission has dismissed this argument.

"Neither the Congress manifesto and its vision document for the UP elections, nor the manifestos for 2009 general elections and all other subsequent Assembly elections in six states, the Congress made any such promise. It is a quite ingenious announcement and does not hold water in view of the factual ground position, " responded EC while countering the arguments of both Salman Khursheed and Congress Party.

The Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) on this issue has asked the resignation of Salman Khursheed stating that EC's verdict is sufficient for censuring Khursheed and he should have now resign from his post.

While Congress has denied BJP's demand quoting, "Khurshid has said something. The EC has commented on it. The matter is closed."

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