New Delhi: The war of words between Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma and the Samajwadi Party does not seem to be ending. Even as the Congress distanced itself from Beni Prasad's remarks, he continued to fire salvos at SP and its supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Reiterating that the SP will win only four seats in the 2014 Lok sabha elections, Beni Prasad said the Smajwadi Party has betrayed the minorities. He added, "SP never wants the Congress to flourish in Uttar Pradesh."
While the Samajwadi Party demanded that Beni Prasad must resign, the Steel Minister said he was ready to face the consequences. "Will resign if the leadership will ask me to, I'm ready to face the consequences," Beni Prasad said.
Earlier on Saturday, Beni Prasad said that the SP won't get more than four seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. "Congress will contest all 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh. We will win 40 seats, BSP may get 36, but SP will get only four seats for its funeral procession," Beni Prasad said.
Beni Prasad, who was addressing a 'Holi milan' function at Uttraula on Friday evening, alleged that the SP contested Gujarat Assembly elections to benefit Chief Minister Narendra Modi. The minister alleged the state government was trying to take political mileage by distributing laptops from funds meant for the development of minorities and Dalits.
He said ensuring defeat of the SP and victory of Congress has become the objective of his life. The Congress leader also alleged that the "state government was distributing cheques of Rs 20 lakh to those involved in killing of DSP Zia-ul-Haq in Pratapgarh and history-sheeters".
The Congress distanced itself from Beni Prasad' statement. "The party doesn't support such statements. Beni Prasad has his own views. We should know that elections are round the corner. The party should not be tagged to such statements," UP Congress leader Rita Bahuguna Joshi said.
Even as Congress distanced itself from Beni Prasad's statement, the Samajwadi Party was upset over the remarks. Reacting sharply to Beni Prasad's remark on its poll prospects, the Samajwadi Party said Congress would suffer due to such "baseless" statements and demanded his removal from the Union Ministry.
This came a day after Samajwadi Party Mulayam Singh Yadav chief took a jibe at him. "Beni Prasad Verma has no status. His son contested elections and he lost even his deposit. He lost all 5 seats from the constituency where he is an MP. He is just flattering Congress. He behaves as if he's the only leader left in Congress now," Mulayam Singh had said in an interview to CNN-IBN on Friday.
Mulayam and Beni Prasad have been at loggerheads after Beni Prasad, inside Parliament, said Mulayam had links with terrorists. He even accused Mulayam of "looking after his own family". Beni said that Mulayam "cannot be a real samajwadi". "Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi were real samajwadis. Mulayam Singh Yadav is busy looking after his own family. He cannot be a real samajwadi."
Beni had been forced to apologise to the SP supremo when he had accused him of working with terrorists. Mulayam Singh Yadav's SP is crucial for the survival of the UPA government, which has been left 40 seats below the majority mark of 271 in Parliament after the DMK withdrew support from it earlier this week. Beni, however, remains defiant. "I won't bend before pressure politics," he said, adding that he won't quit until he made Rahul Gandhi the Prime Minister. "Some people are dreaming of becoming the PM after winning 60 seats," he added with a hint of sarcasm.
(With additional information from PTI)