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Updated: March 31, 2013 02:43 IST

Congress embarrassed as Beni fires another salvo

    Atiq Khan
    Omar Rashid
Comment (14)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
Union Minister Beni Prasad Verma said the 2014 Lok Sabha polls would “witness the funeral procession of the SP.” File photo.
Union Minister Beni Prasad Verma said the 2014 Lok Sabha polls would “witness the funeral procession of the SP.” File photo.

Accuses Mulayam of conspiring with VHP

For the Congress, Union Minister Beni Prasad Verma’s repeated broadsides against the Samajwadi Party are becoming increasingly “embarrassing,” senior party sources in Delhi admitted, while stressing that it was not for the SP to advise it on whether or not to drop him from the Cabinet.

This assertion came after SP general secretary Ram Asrey Kushwaha demanded Mr. Verma’s “immediate removal” from the government, now that the latter has publicly attacked party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav twice in a fortnight: on the first occasion he had called him a terrorist, forcing Congress president Sonia Gandhi to apologise to him; on Saturday, Mr. Verma claimed that the SP leader had conspired with VHP chief Ashok Singhal against the minorities in 1990.

Of course, when U.P. Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav was asked (in Allahabad) whether his party would exert pressure on the Congress to sack Mr Verma, he avoided a direct answer.

The vitriolic exchange between Mr. Verma and several senior SP leaders, senior Congress sources in Delhi underscored, were a manifestation of differences between the SP and the Union Steel Minister, not between the SP and the Congress. They said Mr. Verma had personal scores to settle with the SP — his son has been defeated twice — and he had also been hoping to move to the Bahujan Samaj Party.

For the Congress, maintaining this distinction is very important as it needs the backing of the 21 MP-strong SP in Parliament, now that the DMK has exited from the ruling UPA coalition.

Fortunately for the Congress, angered as the SP is over the personal attack launched by Mr. Verma, both Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav on Friday and Mr. Akhilesh Yadav on Saturday stressed the SP would continue to back the UPA “to keep communal forces at bay.” Asked if the SP might consider joining the BJP-led alliance, the young Chief Minister said, “SP is a secular party and in favour of a secular government.”

However, secular solidarity did not prevent Mr. Akhilesh Yadav from lambasting the Congress for using the CBI against its rivals. “But the SP does not fear any CBI enquiry,” he said, answering the BJP’s charge that the SP was backing the UPA.

On Saturday, Mr. Verma hit out at the SP, saying it would win only four Lok Sabha seats in 2014, and all in the vicinity of Etawah, the SP boss’ home district. The coming Lok Sabha elections, Mr. Verma prophesied, would “witness the funeral procession of the SP,” while the Congress would win 40, the BSP 26 and the BJP 10 seats.

If that claim was not enough, he accused Mr. Yadav — at a press conference in Lucknow — of hobnobbing with BJP and RSS leaders, and said he had deceived the minorities. Muddying the image of the SP leader as the “hero” of the Babri Masjid in 1990 — the year he was famously quoted as saying that not even a bird would be allowed to flutter its wings near the mosque — Mr. Verma alleged that Mr. Singhal was allowed into Ayodhya at a time when all entry was banned by the then Mulayam-headed government, of which he (Mr. Verma) was a Minister. Mr. Verma claimed that Mr. Yadav had not been interested in protecting the Babri Masjid, but creating a situation that would ensure the downfall of the V.P. Singh government at the Centre.

Interestingly, Mr. Verma did not spare his detractors in the Congress either. Asked about the Congress’ dismal performance in the 2012 Assembly elections, Mr. Verma said the party suffered on account of the move to grant 4.5 per cent reservation to Muslims and the debate on the Batla House encounter in Delhi – a reference to External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh.

UPA stability at stake
Should Beni Prasad Verma be sacked?
Can’t say

The Congress government needs the support of SP in parliament to survive in office. Then
what is wrong in SP asking the Congrss party to drop from the cabinet Beni Prasad Verma
who has been continuously criticizing and even making fun of SP. Vinaasa kale vipareetha
buddhi, isn't it?

from:  K.Vijayakumar
Posted on: Mar 31, 2013 at 13:47 IST

Oh he worse than Digvijay Singh. I do not understand in first place how could this Congress party who claims to have vote bank of educated, secular, white collared gives a Birth in govt to this guy. Look at the way he talks, words coming out of his mouth, they are so provocative. I think congress is full of such people this person can be equated with Digvijay, Manish Tiwari and so on. Mr. Verma does not even sound educated.

from:  Ashutosh Vichore
Posted on: Mar 31, 2013 at 08:56 IST

The vitriolic exchanges between Mr. Verma and several senior SP
leaders, senior Congress deliberately avoided to underscore, were a
manifestation of differences between the Union Steel Minister and rest
of the congress as of now and not between the SP and the Congress,
would be an appropriate way of inference.It appears that the Congress
had made 'alternative arrangements' for survival of the government and
therefore is trying to dispense with SP's swinging support. However,
given the vulnerability of SP, it seems to be left with no other
option than to express support to the numerically minority government
at the centre.It is up to the U.P.voters to dump the Congress, SP and
BSP and up to the BJP to make the best use of this God sent
opportunity by putting its house in order,leaving its Hindutva agenda,
if it is really serious about providing the next stable government at
the centre.

from:  Shekar
Posted on: Mar 31, 2013 at 08:54 IST

I don't think that Beni Prasad Verma made his poll predictions public
without the tacit support from his high command. The Congress thinks
that since they are paying for it, literally and metaphorically,
insinuations and hitting below the belt, which have become norms in
Indian electoral politics, are fully justified. I won't be surprised if
Beni Prasad Verma tenders unconditional apology for his utterances.
But, we all know the end result in UP elections: if Mulayam goes out,
Mayawati comes in!

from:  J Ravi
Posted on: Mar 31, 2013 at 08:05 IST

Mr.Verma's days in the central cabinet are numbered and the actual countdown has started.And strangely,the SP's oft repeated reason of
support to the congress is to keep the fabric of secular structure of the Indian Polity is a whole load of rubbish as is Verma's charge.And if Mr. Verma's position is not acceptable to the leadership,then the Honchos should also fire salvos at Mulayam and not be bothered about his support.This UPA II has been the most ridiculous coalition ever,with every ally having personal agendas to promte for extending support.

from:  Raj Kumar
Posted on: Mar 31, 2013 at 04:26 IST

Such harsh and unpalatable words are not expected from a respected Union Minister who represents the entire 1.25 billion Indians even though he is elected to parliament by a few lakhs from some pocket of India. Political leaders are often crossing all norms of a civilised society. EC and SC should take notice of these statements and award strong punishment if deemed fit. Things would improve if canvassing by political parties on roads, open maidans is banned and candidates permitted to make their speeches/ presentations via radio and Tele Vision which will not pollute the country.

from:  Vyas K Susarla
Posted on: Mar 30, 2013 at 16:46 IST

As an MP and Union Minister, BP Varma talks rubbish and not a matured politicians and a responsible Minister.The election is around the corner and whatever any congressmen talks holds counter reaction
and he forgets that he is one of ballbearers of congress when it is going follow SP later in the election.WHatever the party has done to the people holds good.Let Varma place his good deed of action done during his tenure as a responsbie MP to his constituency from where he come and also as a Minister to the people at large so far.which only keeps him out or in the ensuing election.Because of his bad remark on other parties, it is doubtful whether he will get his seat back and he is thorn in the goodness part of the party now.ultimately
madam decides his future too.

from:  vaidya
Posted on: Mar 30, 2013 at 14:32 IST

Beni Prasad Verma seems to have taken over from Digvijay Singh ! He ensures regular entertainment for the print and electronic media. He should also think of charging a royalty from the media and may be some big corporates can sponsor his "programs" !

from:  V. VEDAGIRI
Posted on: Mar 30, 2013 at 14:22 IST

SP winning 4 seats is ok but congress winning 40 seats .. haha ... these
day dreamers god save them . I also dont understand why did he leave
those rest 40 ? to add an element of optimism .

from:  satish reddy
Posted on: Mar 30, 2013 at 14:18 IST

Congress has not learnt from the UP assembly election results. A positive campaign and not bravado will bring them votes.

from:  Shajan
Posted on: Mar 30, 2013 at 14:07 IST

**Factual inaccuracy**

Congress "will win 40" and "[they] will not let BJP win more than 10
seats". "Behenji (Mayawati) will win 36" and SP "will win four seats".

40+10+36+4 = 90, what?

I don't know whose mistake is this (newspaper/PTI or Beni) but I
really hope it's loudmouth Beni.

from:  Deepak Goswami
Posted on: Mar 30, 2013 at 13:56 IST

Mr Beni's prediction about winning of seats in the ensuing election is
not relevant. Even the downfall of BJP in election cannot be
predicted. With the reading of the current political trend, the
indicators of defeat are bright against congress. The right trend can
be assessed only during pre-polls preceding the election because pre-
polls normally give a fair view.

After every election a funeral possession is held for some political
parties. This year let us wait and watch the developments and later
decide as to which which party/parties deserve(s) funeral procession.

from:  s venkataraman
Posted on: Mar 30, 2013 at 12:54 IST

Interesting calculation by the Minister -

Total Lok Sabha seats in UP: 80

According to him, Congress will win 40, BJP not more than 10 (so assume
BJP wins 10), BSP = 36, and SP = 4.

It adds up to 90. Is this how math is done in the govt?

from:  Sam
Posted on: Mar 30, 2013 at 12:52 IST

whether SP wins 4 seats or 40 seats is uncertain. If SP withdraws
support today, UPA has to go out tomorrow.That is certain.
Beni prasad has already expressed regret for his rash statement he will do it again.

from:  v vasudevarao
Posted on: Mar 30, 2013 at 11:54 IST
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