BJP takes Khurshid’s quota comment to poll panel

New Delhi, Jan 10 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Tuesday asked Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi to take action against Law Minister Salman Khurshid for violating the code of conduct by announcing a quota for Muslims if the Congress was voted to power in Uttar Pradesh.

A BJP team led by Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told the Election Commission that the announcement by the union minister was unconstitutional and violated the election code of conduct.

The party said the move was unconstitutional and would lead to social conflict.

‘He made the announcement in the constituency of his wife (Farrukhabad). This will hamper free and fair elections in the state and it is unconstitutional and violation of code of conduct. We demand a strict action against him and the Congress party,’ Naqvi told reporters after the meeting.

Khurshid Monday announced that a nine percent sub-quota for backward Muslims would be provided in Uttar Pradesh within the 27 percent reservation for other backward classes (OBCs) if the party was voted to power.

Stating that the BJP would ‘oppose the move to hurt the pride of backwards’, Naqvi said: ‘The Congress wants to take away the rights of OBCs by giving religion based quota to minorities.’

‘This move will lead to social conflict. We will oppose it on the streets and in parliament.’

Accusing the Congress of trying to divert people’s attention from the issue of corruption to reservation, the BJP leader said the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) are ‘part of the criminal conspiracy to divide the people in poll bound UP (Uttar Pradesh)’.

‘Neither SP nor BSP is principally opposed to such quota. In fact, they are in competition with Congress over quota politics,’ said Naqvi. He added that the ‘Congress had earlier announced 4.5 percent quota for minorities out of the OBC pie’.

He said it was surprising that the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA), which has been battling charges of corruption for past many months, did not think of the welfare of minorities till the elections approached near.

Brushing off the recent controversy over induction of tainted former BSP minister Babu Singh Kushwaha into the party fold, Naqvi said ‘it was a closed chapter’.

The BJP has also called for rescheduling the date of voting in Uttarakhand from Jan 30 to around Feb 10 due to inclement weather conditions.

‘Heavy snowfall in the state has disrupted normal life and has affected poll campaigning. Even Chief Minister B.C. Khanduri got trapped in snowfall and had to walk several kilometres,’ said Naqvi.