EC may put lid on row with Khurshid

New Delhi: The Election Commission is likely to put a lid on the controversy involving Law Minister Salman Khurshid after he expressed regret over his remarks on the minority sub-quota issue.

Sources in the poll panel today said that the matter was being discussed in a meeting of the EC to take a final call on it. The poll panel wants to end the matter now in view of Khurshid`s regret and assurance of not raking up the matter again.

In a letter delivered to the EC on Tuesday night, Khurshid said that he "bows to the wisdom of the EC" and has given his commitment to ensure that such a situation does not arise again. Khurshid`s letter came close on the heels of Congress disapproving his comments against the poll panel, saying that "people occupying posts of responsibility should speak responsibly".

In a short communication, Khurshid said, "I treat this matter as unfortunate and regret the statement…it has never been my intention to transgress the law and undermine the election code of conduct. I have great respect for the Commission and the decisions it takes and has taken…" In his letter to Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi, Khurshid said the controversy created by his remarks was "unintentional".

The letter by Khurshid to the CEC came a day after Congress party went public disapproving of his confrontation with the three-member panel. Congress General Secretary Janardan Dwivedi has said that the EC is a constitutional body and the party wanted all Congressmen to speak "as per norms of public life and law of the land".

In obvious disapproval of Khurshid`s spat with the poll body, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had on Tuesday said in Allahabad that Congress has made it clear that "people occupying posts of responsibility should speak responsibly".

In an unprecedented move, the EC had on Saturday written a letter to President Pratibha Patil seeking her intervention on Khurshid`s alleged defiance of the poll body`s censure of his remarks promising to double job subquota for Muslims which the EC found as violative of the model of conduct.

Even after the EC`s censure, the Law Minister had reportedly told an election meeting in Farrukhabad that he would continue to fight muslims subquota even "if they (EC) hang me".

The CEC found the tone and tenor of the remarks of Khurshid "as utterly contemptuous and dismissive" of the Commission and damaging to the level-playing field" in Uttar Pradesh assembly election and sought "immediate and decisive" intervention of the President.

Khurshid`s subquota remarks were first made during a rally in support of his wife Louise who is contesting as a Congress candidate in Farrukhabad. On Saturday night, the Law Minister had at another rally stuck to his subquota stand, drawing the anger of the panel.

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