Govt may keep off Khurshid row

Govt may keep off Khurshid row

Despite the serious nature of the Election Commission (EC) letter to President Pratibha Patil seeking action against Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid, it is unlikely that the government will get itself involved in it.

Khurshid, who was censured by the EC only two days ago, may at the most be asked to apologise to the Commission which took the unprecedented step by writing to the President against a Union minister.

The minister may also be told to issue a statement saying he did not intend to violate the guidelines of the Commission.

This is mainly because the EC itself has more powers to deal in such a situation than invoking the powers of the President for it.

Noted Constitution expert Ram Jethmalani spoke in nearly the same vein when he said, “EC has powers under the Representation of People Act to initiate action.”
Politically too, the UPA government needs Khurshid as it is involved in a slew of legal cases in the Supreme Court.

Also, in Uttar Pradesh, Khurshid is one of the main campaigners and a known Muslim face from the Congress party in the state.

However, sources in the EC said the very action of the full bench of the Commission to hold an emergency meeting and decision to write to the highest constitutional authority in the country indicates the seriousness of the situation.

“The government will be forced to look into this issue,” said an analyst.
Indications from the EC too are that the panel may not be satisfied with a mere apology and that it would expect a “strong action”. EC sources said the Commission would have accepted an apology if Khurshid did so immediately after he was censured. Instead, he continued his pro-Muslim quota remarks which irked the poll panel.

Notice issued

The Commission also issued a notice to Khurshid’s wife, Lousie, for promising Muslim quota like the minister.

Sources said the Commission even considered withholding elections at Farukkabad City constituency, from where she is contesting.

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