By: Aditi Khanna
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has questioned the role of the Supreme Court and the Election Commission, mocking them in a speech he made on ‘Challenges of Democracy in India’ at the School of Oriental and African Studies here Wednesday night.
Apparently referring to the SC judgment disqualifying convicted lawmakers, he called it “a judge-made law”. He also questioned the EC’s model code of conduct, saying the approach of its guidelines appear to be that “you should do or say nothing that wins you an election”. He is in London for the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group meeting to be held Friday.
Khurshid said the broad approach was that “you should do or say nothing that wins you an election… I cheekily said to them we try to lose our elections for five years; give us 15 days in which we can try and win them please”.
The Congress spokesp-erson said in Delhi that the party considered the model code of conduct as well as the EC orders to be the law and followed it religiously.
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Reacting, BJP leader Prakash Javadekar said the comments had been made out of desperation. “Khurshid’s diatribe against EC is nothing but their (Congress’s) desperation…Khurshid has not opted out (of the race), but is sure to lose; therefore, he is blaming it not on Congress but on EC,” he said.
While Khurshid conceded that the EC was “very vigorous and highly respected”, and had “cleaned up a lot of the ugly warts of our election process”, he noted that “they are only three of them”. “And three of them can decide what word you can use in an election campaign… That is an interesting area of study on how much the EC can interfere in public discourse.”
Referring to the SC, he said that “important democratic decisions are being transferred to an unaccountable body of people”. “In India, courts are taking a view on issues that are in democratic theory really an area of Parliament or government to decide.” PTI
Former deputy speaker Mallikarjunaiah dies at 83
Bangalore: Former Lok Sabha deputy speaker and veteran Karnataka BJP leader S Mallikarjunaiah died of a heart attack at Tumkur on Thursday, party sources said. He was 83. Mallikarjunaiah was deputy speaker in the 10th Lok Sabha (1991-1996) and was elected to the Lok Sabha thrice (1991, 1998 and 2004) from Tumkur. He was also a member of the Karnataka Legislative Council and served as its deputy chairman. He held the post of state president of the erstwhile Bharatiya Jan Sangh. He is survived by wife, two daughters and a son. PTI