The fresh accusation by the Congress Minister came days after he declared a ceasefire with Samajwadi Party after making several remarks against Mulayam Singh Yadav, a key ally of the ruling UPA.

In a new charge, Union Minister Beni Prasad Verma on Monday accused Mulayam Singh Yadav of conniving with L. K. Advani in the run up to the demolition of Babri Masjid while debunking a debate whether he or Narendra Modi would be a better Prime Ministerial choice.

The fresh accusation by the Congress Minister came days after he declared a ceasefire with Samajwadi Party after making several remarks against Mr. Yadav, a key ally of the ruling UPA.

Mr. Verma said that Mr. Advani started a rath yatra stating that shilanyas was to be performed at the disputed structure on October 30, 1990. “The intention was not to perform shilanyas but to demolish the disputed structure in connivance with the then Chief Minister (Mulayam Singh Yadav),” he told reporters in Lucknow.

Suggesting the police firing in Ayodhya in November 1990 when Mr. Yadav was the Chief Minister was unnecessary, Mr. Verma claimed that Mr. Yadav later visited the guest house where Mr. Advani, Vinay Katiyar and others were under detention.

At the meeting, he claimed, it was decided that karsewaks would be permitted to perform darshan (at the disputed site). “A debate has started that Modi is bad and Advani is good. It is very unfortunate...both are guilty of denting the secular character of the country,” he said.

In a reference to Mr. Yadav’s remarks, Mr. Beni said now it is being said Mr. Advani has said that Akhilesh government is corrupt and the senior BJP never lies. “I don’t know that whether they are fooling the country. Today BJP leaders are saying that Advani should become the PM... Advani is no less guilty than Modi with reference to secularism.”

“...There is not a difference of single degree between Advani and Modi. Both are of them are of same calibre. After October 30 (1990) and December 6 (1992) riots broke out in which thousands of people were killed and Advani is guilty of that… and thousands of Muslims were killed in Gujarat for which Modi is guilty,” he said.

In the next Lok Sabha polls, Mr. Verma predicted that Congress would get 45 seats from UP. “Whenever polls are held Congress will win 45 seats, BSP 26, five BJP and four SP,” he said.

When pointed out that earlier he had put the Congress number at 40 seats, he said that he has reduced five seats of BJP.