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EC absolves Arjun of Model Code violation

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, May 10 (UNI) The Election Commission today virtually absolved Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh of the charge of violating the Model Code of Conduct on the issue of proposed OBC quota in government-aided higher education institutions.

In a five-page order, the EC, however, said it was not sufficient to merely uphold the Model Code ''but the minister and the governmewnt should also be perceived to be adhering to the provisions of the Code.'' Earlier, Mr Arjun Singh had written twice to the Commission denying that he had made any mention about the possible percentage of quota to be provided to OBC students.

Last week, the minister had also met the full Commission to explain his position personally. The Central Government had also supported Mr Singh's stand on the issue.

However, the Commission clearly indicated in its order that it was not fully satisfied with the replies and explanation of the minister.

Mr Singh's reported remarks on the quota issue had sparked off a nationwide agitation by medical and engineering students who were against the government's move on the ground that it amounted to compromising on merit.

Last week, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had called for striking a balance between merit and means in the matter of allowing access to higher education.

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