M A I N   N E W S

Beni gets EC notice on Muslim quota remark
Told to explain his stand by Monday
Tribune News Service

Lucknow\New Delhi, Feb 18
The Election Commission today issued a show-cause notice to Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma asking him to explain his statement on Muslim sub-quota by Monday evening. Verma is the second Cabinet minister of the UPA government to get such a notice.

Earlier, the EC had censured Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid twice on his statements regarding the Congress’ determination to double the 4.5 per cent sub-quota for Muslim within the OBC quota. Interestingly, all three statements defying the model code of conduct were made at rallies in support of Khurshid’s wife Louise Khurshid.

In its notice the ECI said, “(It) is prima facie satisfied that Beni Prasad Verma, making the aforesaid statements, has violated the model code of conduct and…. he was well aware that by making such utterances, he was violating the model code of conduct and yet he deliberately and wilfully did the same.”

Today’s notice came after the EC went through the video recording of the election rally where Beni is said to have raked up the quota issue. The EC has sought his reply by 5 pm of February 20.

Addressing a political rally at Qaimganj on February 15, Verma had said: “Muslims don’t have their own homes; they don’t have jobs and 70 per cent of them work as labourers. The non-Congress governments in the state have not done anything for their betterment.”

“Reservation for Muslims will be increased if the Congress comes to power and if the EC wants, it can now issue a notice to me,” he had reportedly said. Verma has said his remarks were not intentional. It was a case of slip of tongue, he has said.

Hours after the ECI hauled up Verma, Salman Khurshid told a news channel: “The EC has given guidelines. I think all ministers will see the guidelines and then speak accordingly.”





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