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UTTAR PRADESH

Qureshi defiant as criticism mounts

Tuesday 21 February 2006

Delhi/Lucknow, February 20 : HAJ AND Minorities Welfare Minister Haji Yaqoob Qureshi seems to be ploughing a lonely furrow. Beside the opposition, which is gunning for the minister for his fatwa against the Danish cartoonist, his own party has started distancing itself from his remarks. That the minister remains defiant is simply another story.

Senior SP leader Shahid Siddiqui told the Rajya Sabha on Monday neither his party nor the UP government approved of Qureshi’s remarks. He said the remarks, made in a fit of rage, were “unfortunate”.

On Monday, the Centre also made a veiled attack on the minister. Information and Broadcasting Minister PR Dasmunshi said, “People holding constitutional posts should maintain restraint.”

Meanwhile, the issue reverberated in the Vidhan Parishad with the BJP demanding Qureshi’s dismissal. There was chaos in the House with the BJP members, pressing for the postponement of the question hour, saying the minister’s outrageous statement had created a constitutional crisis in the State.

However, despite condemnation within and outside the party, the minister refused to budge on the issue. Qureshi said he did not care for the ministership. Referring to his criticism from some Muslim leaders, Qureshi said he had overwhelming support of the community.

See online : The Hindustan Times

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