Khurshid defends announcement of quota for Muslims

New Delhi, Jan 10 (IANS) Law Minister Salman Khurshid Tuesday defended his announcement of nine percent reservation for Muslims in Uttar Pradesh if the Congress was voted to power, and said the government was working according to the ‘set-up in the country’.

‘The government has worked according to the set-up in the country that provides 27 percent reservation for people belonging to backward classes of all religions,’ Khurshid told reporters here.

The law minister was reacting to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) complaint to the Election Commission that the announcement violated the code of conduct and was an attempt to woo voters in the state.

‘This very set-up on the recommendation of the Sachar Committee has been implemented in all central government jobs,’ said Khurshid.

He added that he was ready to answer any questions.

‘But the people do understand the motive behind their complaint.’

Khurshid Monday announced in Farrukhabad, wife Louise Khurshid’s constituency, that a nine percent sub-quota for backward Muslims would be provided in Uttar Pradesh if the Congress was voted to power.

Referring to Uttar Pradesh nationally topping malnutrition – according to a report released at an event where Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was present – the law minister said funds given by the central government were not reaching the masses.

‘As Rahul-ji has said repeatedly, it’s the common people in the state for whom the central government makes arrangements and provides funds, which do not reach them,’ said Khurshid.

‘We are fighting to provide education, justice, food to the people of the state in this election,’ he added.

Taking a dig at the Chief Minister Mayawati and leaders of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the BJP, Khurshid said: ‘Neither the chief minister nor the leaders of the BJP and the BSP are victims of malnutrition in Uttar Pradesh.’