New Delhi: Congress on Saturday maintained silence over Union Minister Beni Prasad Verma's renewed attack on outside ally Samajwadi Party, which is hopeful that he will be removed during a minor Cabinet reshuffle being talked about soon. Targeting the SP yet again on Saturday, he said that there will be a 'funeral procession' for the party after the next Lok Sabha elections predicting that it will win only four seats, triggering a fresh war of words with UPA's key outside supporter which demanded his immediate dismissal.
Verma also alleged that Yadav has 'cheated' Muslims over the Babri Masjid issue. The SP, which has been angry with Verma's recent attacks, on Saturday renewed its demand for his removal as minister over the 'funeral procession' comment saying he has lost his 'mental balance'. Significantly, Congress had last week snubbed Verma for his remarks that Yadav had links with terrorists had raked up a controversy.
Verma had also expressed 'regret' while Congress President Sonia Gandhi had personally spoken to the SP chief making clear to him that her party did not share Verma's view. However, a senior Congress leader said that no decision has been taken yet on Verma's removal. The minister's fresh attack has taken the SP by surprise. Some leaders feel that Verma will be removed from the Cabinet, and that the Congress had given an assurance in this regard.
SP wants Beni Prasad out after his string of incredulous comments against the party.
"Action would mean either to ensure that Verma goes silent or he is axed. Since he has continued his tirade, we expect him to be removed as minister," a senior leader from the Samajwadi Party said. The SP's belief also stems from speculation that there is a going to be a minor rejig in the Union Cabinet to fill the slots vacated by the DMK, which pulled out from the UPA.