New Delhi: The Samajwadi Party on Wednesday hit back at Union Minister Beni Prasad Verma for his comments on SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav. Verma had on Tuesday said that the SP chief was not even fit to sweep the Prime Minister's residence.
Reacting to Verma's comment, SP leader Kamal Farooqi called him insane and said he does not know how to behave. "What can be said about an insane person who does not know how to behave and what language to use. It is very surprising and unfotunate that the Congress is not acting aganist him," Farooqi said.
"We have been asking our workers to maintain restraint. If the Congress is not acting, then we presume that the Congress has let him free. They are forcing us to act," he added.
Beni Prasad Verma on Tuesday kicked up another controversy with his barbs at friend-turned foe Mulayam Singh Yadav, saying that the SP chief was not even fit to sweep the Prime Minister's residence, drawing instant rebuke from the Congress.
"Yadav wants to become Prime Minister. He should first try to get the job of a sweeper at the residence of the PM," 77-year Verma said at a programme in Uttar Pradesh's Faizabad.
He prefaced his remark by alleging that the Samajwadi Party was a party based on "lies and fraud" and that it will be finished by the Congress. Verma was once a close confidant of the Samajwadi Party supremo but was gradually sidelined after Amar Singh came into the picture. The Kurmi leader quit the party in 2007 and joined the Congress before 2009 Lok Sabha elections.
Disapproving of Verma's remarks, Congress once again ticked him off for his remarks against Yadav saying it was "regrettable and the party totally distances itself from that". "I do not know whether he has said anything like this, but if he has done so, it is regrettable. Mulayam Singh Yadav is a big leader and has been in politics for a long time. Verma was an old friend of Yadav. "The party totally distances itself from it. It has nothing to do with it," party spokesman Meem Afzal said in Delhi.
When asked by reporters whether the party would initiate disciplinary action against Verma, who has been making controversial statements against Yadav, Afzal said that Verma is a Union Minister and wondered what action can the party take. Asked whether it meant that the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should act in the matter, he said he was not suggesting that.
Verma, who had been a former friend and colleague of SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, has been attacking Yadav for the last few months putting Congress in an embarrassing position as the UPA is being supported from outside by the SP. A few months ago, when Verma alleged that the SP chief had links with terrorists, the Congress had snubbed him saying the party does not share the view and those in public life should speak with decorum.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi had also told the SP chief that she does not approve of such comments, which brought an end to the controversy. Verma also expressed "regret", stopping short of making an apology as demanded by the SP.
However, the war words resumed a few days ago with the Union Minister hitting out at the SP saying coming Lok Sabha elections will mark the "funeral procession" of SP.
Some Congress leaders are also of the view that Verma could be warming up to BSP, SP's main rival in UP, while others believe that he is unlikely to leave the party. However, some others believe that it's not a case of Verma warming up to any other party but he is a man of strong likes ans dislikes and just cannot be moderate in his expression against the SP chief for whom he has a strong antipathy now.
(With additional information from PTI)