Lucknow, Feb 12: In the thick of controversy over his remarks on minorities' sub-quota, Law Minister Salman Khurshid today refused to comment on Election Commission's move seeking “immediate and decisive” intervention of President Pratibha Patil.
“I will not talk to anyone.... Do I refuse you (media)?... When I have to say something I say it,” Khurshid told reporters when asked about the EC's yesterday's recommendation.
State Congress leader Abid Hussain insisted that the matter was between the President and the EC and so the minister has chosen not to speak on the issue.
“As a member of the Cabinet, the issue on which you (media) want to talk is between the two constitutional authorities, the President and the EC, and the minister has clearly said that he will not give any reaction to electronic or print media,” he said.
In an unprecedented action, the EC had last night sought the “immediate and decisive” intervention of the President after it charged Khurshid with “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 Commission had said Khurshid's action could “vitiate free and fair polls” in Uttar Pradesh and that the EC 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 on Friday night that he would continue to pursue the line on nine percent sub-quota for minorities ‘even if they (EC) hang me'.
Khurshid had earlier been censured for the same statement made on January 8 while campaigning in UP, with EC holding it as violative of the Model Code of Conduct.