Poll panel asks Verma to explain ‘wilfull’ sub-quota remark (Lead)

February 18th, 2012 - 5:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, Feb 18 (IANS) The Election Commission Saturday issued notice to Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma and said it was evident that the Congress leader “deliberately and wilfully” made the sub-quota remark.

In its notice, the commission said the model code of conduct specifies that “there shall be no appeal to caste or communal feelings for securing votes”.

The commission said it has received a complaint against the Congress leader that he made the promise during an election meeting in Farrukhabad in Uttar Pradesh.

The poll panel said it had obtained the copy of the video recording which shows that the union minister violated the model code of conduct.

“….having seen it (video recording, we are) prima facie satisfied that Beni Prasad Verma by making the statements has violated the provisions of the model code of conduct and it is evident from the statements that 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,” the poll panel said in its notice.

The poll panel also asked him to “explain” why action should not be taken against him. He was told to reply by 5 p.m. Monday.

Addressing a political rally in Kayamganj assembly constituency in Farrukhabad district Wednesday, Verma said: “Muslims don’t have their homes; they don’t have jobs and 70 percent of them work as labourers. Non-Congress governments in the state have not done anything for their betterment.”

Verma also dared the poll panel to take action against him for his quota comments.

A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) delegation Friday complained to the commission against Verma and sought stringent action against him for promising sub-quota for Muslims if his party was voted to power in Uttar Pradesh.

The BJP submitted a memorandum to the poll panel, alleging Verma violated the election model code of conduct and demanded registration of a criminal case against him.

Verma’s speech re-ignited the row over quota for minorities in the poll-bound state.

Law Minister Salman Khurshid was the first Congress leader who made the sub-quota remark while campaigning for his wife Louise, who is contesting from the Farrukhabad assembly constituency.

The poll panel had censured Khurshid and expressed hope that he would not violate the model code of conduct again.

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