After the fireworks between Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi and Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid over the matter of Muslim reservations,the two came face-to-face for the first time publicly over the weekend. Both went on to try and make light of the bitter tiff that marked their exchange,and between the Centre and Nirvachan Sadan,since the beginning of this year.
When Quraishi met Khurshid for the first time after the completion of the Assembly polls,there was no visible sign of tension.
In fact,in their own ways,both tried to put things in perspective in their brief address at the function at the Gymkhana Club in New Delhi on Friday evening,organised by Sir Syed Foundation,a relatively new organisation set up to honour the life of the founder of Aligarh Muslim University.
Several Aligarians like educationist Syed
Hamid,hockey player Zafar Iqbal,poet-lyricist Javed Akhtar and officer-activist Udit Raj were honoured at the function.
Quraishi was honoured for his contribution to administration and Khurshid was honoured for community development.
In fact,Quraishi was presented the award by a smiling Khurshid and he almost reciprocated by speaking of the greatness of Indian democracy,as also of the great challenges before it.
Quraishi spoke about India,which granted universal adult suffrage much earlier than even democracies like the US did and where elections and the business of democracy is a hugely complex matter. He praised politicians,saying he was against those who constantly harp about the negative sentiment,saying unequivocally that India had lots to cheer about.
Khurshid,collecting his award soon after,jocularly,and a little caustically,went on to say how he was surprised that Quraishi while speaking of the great challenges to Indian democracy,had not said that the greatest challenge to Indian democracy was there.
Khurshid spoke of the beauty of our system,the fact that there was always a dialogue and discourse of ideas that went on and was healthy,despite it sometimes becoming a clash of ideas. Khurshid spoke of the Election Commission,the Supreme Court, among other institutions that protect democracy and if we slip,koi rokne wala zaroor hota hai .
Both Khurshid and Quraishi sat next to each other on the podium. Neither of them is from Aligarh; both hail from St Stephens College in Delhi,with Quraishi being six years senior to Khurshid.