The war of words between Union minister Beni Prasad Verma and Samajwadi Party continued on Saturday with the latter slamming the Congress leader for his remarks on the poll prospects of the Mulayam Singh Yadav-led party.

Reacting sharply to Mr. Verma’s remark, the Samajwadi Party said Congress would suffer due to such “baseless” statements and demanded his removal from the Union Council of Ministers.

Talking about the poll prospects of various parties in U.P., Mr. Verma had said on Friday that Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav’s party will win only four seats in the next Lok Sabha polls and there will be a “funeral procession” for the party.

While SP general secretary and national spokesperson Ram Gopal Yadav said in New Delhi that Mr. Verma held a grudge against the party for two successive defeats of his son Rakesh in the Assembly polls, another party general secretary Ram Asrey Kushwaha said in Lucknow that it was “unfortunate” that a person like him was made a Minister and demanded his “immediate removal” from the government.

“Verma is a senior person. He had been associated with the SP for a long time. We understand his grudge against the party as his son has lost twice to SP candidates (in Assembly polls). We also know he (Mr. Verma) lost the Assembly poll from Ayodhya and managed only 400 votes,” Mr. Ram Gopal Yadav said.

He said the media should not give importance to Mr. Verma’s repeated remarks against the SP. “He could be important for Congress, not us... what he says should not be taken as Congress’ stand,” he said.

SP State unit spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary said in Lucknow that Mr. Verma will be “nowhere in the next Lok Sabha elections and Congress will have to suffer due to such baseless statement.”

He also dubbed Mr. Verma as an “ungrateful” person.

Mr. Kushwaha said Mr. Verma has lost his “mental balance” as according to his calculation, all parties combined would get 90 seats, whereas there are only 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh.

This is not the first time that the Union Steel Minister has ruffled the SP’s feathers.

Mr. Verma had recently triggered a storm by alleging that the SP supremo had “terrorist links” leading to calls for his removal from the Union Ministry. He had later regretted his remarks. The SP had maintained that Mr. Verma should have personally apologised to Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav and expressing regret was not enough.