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Minority quota: Prosecute Union minister, BJP tells EC

February 17, 2012 15:36 IST

The Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday complained to the Election Commission against Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma's remarks on minority sub quota, asking the poll body to book him for allegedly violating the model code of conduct.

A BJP delegation comprising Jagat Prakash Nadda, Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Shahnawaz Hussain, along with R Ramakrishna, convener of the party's election cell, met Chief Election Commissioner S Y Qureshi and ECs V S Sampath and H S Brahma and submitted a memorandum to them against Verma.

"We have met the Election Commission, lodged our complaint against Verma and sought registration of a case against him for violating the model mode of conduct through his remarks on sub-quota," BJP general secretary J P Nadda told reporters.

"The ECI should now consider measures more stringent than a mere censure such as prosecution and debarring of the delinquent ministers from electioneering in extraordinary situations such as the present one where lawmakers become lawbreakers," the BJP memorandum to EC states.

Nadda said it has become a regular feature with the Congress to challenge constitutional authorities.

In their complaint, the BJP said, "It is unfortunate that Union ministers are being engaged to continue the relay race in making false promises which are packaged in a parallel denigration of the ECI. Repeated breach of the MCC (Model Code of Conduct) is itself reprehensible, but what compounds the offence is that the same offence is repeated by different functionaries holding ministerial positions..."

Nadda said the party has raised strong objections to the remarks of Verma and has asked the commission to take stern action.

"One constitutional authority, a minister, is challenging the constitutional institution. In our memorandum we have also stated that the Congress in its manifesto has not even talked about 4.5 per cent reservation for minorities, leave aside the nine per cent reservation. We have thus asked the Election Commission that mere censure is not enough and thus prosecution of Verma should start and a criminal case be registered against him," said Nadda.

He said, "EC heard us and we handed over a copy of Beni Prasad Verma's statement. The EC has assured us that after investigating the matter, appropriate action will be initiated."

The BJP complaint has also raised the issue of the constitutional body's stature, which it said has the mammoth task of "ensuring a level-playing field and free and fair elections, which is the bedrock of democracy".

To substantiate their complaint, the BJP has also provided the commission a copy of Verma's speech made in Farrukhabad on the sub-quota for minorities.

Meanwhile, the NCP, an important ally of the ruling United Progressive Alliance coalition, today disapproved of Congress ministers making statements on sub-quota for minorities, saying it was not "wise" to do so while the poll process was on.

"It is not wise to make such statements when the election process is on in UP," NCP president Sharad Pawar told reporters on the sidelines of a function.

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