New Delhi: The hearing in the case against Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma for violation of model code of conduct following his Muslim sub-quota remarks was on Saturday postponed to March 2, a day before the last phase of Uttar Pradesh assembly election.

This is second consecutive time that the hearing in the code violation case was deferred by the Election Commission. Earlier it was postponed to Monday due to non-availability of the complainant BJP leader Syed Shahnawaz Hussain.

During the hearing March 2, Verma is expected to explain his stand to the Commission.

The election body had on February 18 issued notice to Verma over his remarks on sub-quota for minorities, holding that prima facie it was a violation of the model code of conduct. Subsequently, Verma had replied the commission within two days.

Verma, in his reply, had expressed regret over his sub-quota remarks but clarified that he had never intended to violate the model code of conduct and his remarks were made as a Congress leader on the lines with the party's manifesto and not as a minister.

While addressing an election rally in Farukkhabad, the Congress leader had said, "Reservation for Muslims will be increased and if the EC wants, it can now issue a notice to me."

JPN/Bureau