Beni Prasad Verma dares EC on Muslim quota

Congress leader and steel minister Beni Prasad Verma has reignited the row over reservations for minorities in Uttar Pradesh by promising sub-quotas for Muslims if the party was voted to power in the state. Addressing a political rally at Kayamganj assembly constituency in Farrukhabad district on Wednesday, Verma said: "Muslims don't have their homes; they don't have jobs and 70% of them work as labourers. Non-Congress governments in the state have not done anything for their betterment. "We will make sure that quotas for them is increased if the Congress comes to power in Uttar Pradesh," he said. Verma's remarks come two days after law minister Salman Khurshid apologised to the Election Commission, regretting his remarks on sub-quota for backward sections of minorities in Uttar Pradesh, where elections are going on. "I said in Farrukhabad that Muslims have not got their due and the central government has made a reservation of 4.5% for them and it needs to be increased. If Election Commission serves me a notice I will reply to it," Prasad told a TV channel.
In Delhi, EC officials said they have the tapes of Verma's speech. An official indicated they might issue him a notice for violation of the model code of conduct. On Wednesday, the EC had put a lid on the stand-off with Khurshid after he expressed regret over his "defiance" of the poll body. The Congress, apparently, is not too happy, though information and broadcasting minister Ambika Soni denied an exact knowledge of Verma’s remarks.


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