The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Arjun says he did not violate poll code

New Delhi, April 9: Arjun Singh today formally informed the Election Commission he had not made any announcement on a 27 per cent education quota for other backward classes.

A day after being warned he could be pulled up for violating the model code of conduct in five election-bound states, Singh said the Centre has yet to take a decision on the percentage of reservation.

“There was no announcement of any concession, much less any other breach of the model code of conduct, as mentioned in your letter. There is no basis even for a prima facie view to that effect,” Singh said in his reply.

Yesterday, the Centre had been forced to issue a clarification after the poll panel stepped into the row over raising the quota percentage to 49.5 in educational institutions, including IITs and IIMs.

The minister said it was unfortunate the panel had concluded “the alleged announcement amounts to new concession to sections of the electorate in the five states”.

Such a conclusion had been reached only on the basis of media reports, he said.

“What is more, it has also been concluded that it prima facie violates the model code of conduct without mentioning which provision of the model code of conduct the commission had in view.”

Singh said he was at a loss why the row had snowballed as he had made it clear a “decision would be taken and announced only after elections”.

Besides, Article 15(5) enhancing the reservation had come into force on January 20 after the 104th amendment.

“Thus, advancement of' (OBCs) in matters of admission' is an existing constitutional scheme and by no stretch of imagination is a new announcement.”

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