Khurshid speaks to PM after EC complains to President

Khurshid speaks to PM after EC complains to President

Law Minister Salman Khurshid today spoke to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh against the backdrop of Election Commission's complaint against him to President Pratibha Patil in which the panel accused him of "improper and unlawful" defiance of its orders.

Sources close to the minister confirmed that Khurshid, who is currently in Lucknow, had a telephonic talk with the Prime Minister but it could not be known what transpired.

Acting swiftly on the complaint by the Election Commission against Khurshid, the President had last night sent it to the office of the Prime Minister for "appropriate action". In an unprecedented step last night, the Commission sought "immediate and decisive" intervention of the President accusing the Law Minister of "improper and unlawful" defiance of its orders under which he was censured for promising sub-quota for minorities.

In a strongly-worded communication to Patil, the EC said Khurshid's action could "vitiate free and fair polls" in Uttar Pradesh and that it was "perturbed because the undermining of its Constitutionally-mandated duties has come from the Law Minister who has direct responsibility to uphold and strengthen the EC rather than to denigrate it".

The Commission took the unprecedented decision to complain against a Union minister to the President after Khurshid had told an election rally in UP earlier in the day that he would continue to pursue the line on nine per cent sub-quota for minorities 'even if they (EC) hang me'.

Khurshid spoke to the Prime Minister on a day when Congress virtually snubbed him for the controversy with party general secretary and media department chief Janardan Dwivedi underlining that all partymen should "speak as per the norms of public life and the law of the land".

BJP has demanded sacking of Khurshid and its ally JD(U) said Khurshid should be banned from visiting Uttar Pradesh while CPI(M) disapproved of his "defiant stance".