I'll abide by govt decision: Khurshid

Oppn raises pitch for ouster, PM may take a call today

I'll abide by govt decision: Khurshid

With the Congress high-command publicly disapproving his way of confronting the Election Commission, Law Minister Salman Khurshid on Sunday told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that he would abide by whatever decision the government take on the poll panel’s plea to President Pratibha Patil against him.

Keen to stay away from the tussle between the EC and Khurshid, the Congress on Sunday advised its leaders to speak in accordance with the norms of public life and law of the land.

“The Election Commission is a constitutional body. The Congress always wants that all Congressmen should speak as per the norms of public life and the law of the land,” All India Congress Committee general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said in New Delhi.
The prime minister is likely to consult his senior Cabinet colleagues on Monday to decide on the future course of actions on the EC’s plea to the president for “immediate and decisive interventions” against Khurshid.

The law minister spoke to Singh over telephone on Sunday and purportedly explained that his comment on minority quota was nothing more than what the Congress promised in the party’s manifesto for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.

Dwivedi’s comment on Sunday is being seen as the first official reaction from the Congress high command after Chief Election Commissioner S Y Qureshi on Saturday wrote to the president, alleging that Khurshid’s conduct was in clear violation of the model code of conduct and unfairly influencing the Assembly poll in Uttar Pradesh.

The EC’s unprecedented move came after Khurshid was quoted as saying he would ensure that Muslims get their dues, even if the poll panel hanged him for doing so.
Amid intense campaign by the Bharatiya Janata Party and other opposition parties for his sacking from the Union Cabinet, Khurshid is understood to have told Singh he would abide by whatever decision the latter would take on his fate.

The BJP, its ally Janata Dal (United) and other opposition parties, like the Communist Party of India (Marxist), stepped up attacks on Khurshid on Sunday.

Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj demanded dismissal of Khurshid for acting against the Constitution. “We request the president to withdraw her pleasure and dismiss Salman Khurshid as a Minister of the Union Cabinet for acting against the law and the Constitution,” the BJP leader posted on the micro-blogging site Twitter.

BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad said an unprecedented situation has emerged and it was like a constitutional crisis as the question was not about elections but that of the credibility of constitutional bodies like the EC, which has a special status.

“Will the honourable prime minister at least take action or maintain his convention of inaction? Will Sonia Gandhi speak something or maintain her conspicuous silence... otherwise the nation will presume that all of them have same sentiments about what Khurshid (stated)...,” he told a TV channel.

BJP leader L K Advani alleged that the minister was making a “mockery” of the model code of conduct. “The PM should sack Khurshid for making comments on the EC. No minister had ever made comments against the EC in such a way. After being censured by the commission, the minister is making mockery of the model code of conduct,” Advani said while addressing an election meeting in Bhadohi.

Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley alleged that there was a well “scripted conspiracy” on the part of Congress to communalise the UP Assembly elections. “I have reason to believe it’s a part of scripted conspiracy by the Congress to communalise the UP elections...the more it’s done...you might save yourself from the utter disgrace,” he said in Lucknow.

“But the Congress must realise that everyone has a vote, and the reaction to what the Congress is doing could be counter productive,” he added.
He alleged that now a script of unnecessary conflict with the EC was being drawn. BJP’s NDA ally JD(U) demanded that Khurshid be banned from UP, while the CPI(M) disapproved of his “defiant stance” saying “people occupying responsible positions must not talk and behave irresponsibly”.

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