New Delhi: The UPA government is in crisis with the DMK withdrawing support and now needs to hold on to Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party to sail through. But the Samajwadi Party is posing another challenge with the war of words between Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma and SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav escalating.
Amidst rising demand by SP MPs for Beni Prasad's resignation, the Union Steel Minister expressed regret over his statement linking Mulayam with terrorists. "I never gave any such interview to Indian Express. But still, if my statements hurt someone, I express regret," Beni Prasad said.
Even as Mulayam Singh Yadav said he was not angry with Beni Prasad, sources say he was not happy over his comments. This even as both the Prime Minister and Congress President Sonia Gandhi met him over the issue.
The Samajwadi Party MPs have demanded that Beni Prasad apologises in the House. The party's Parliamentary board will meet on Friday morning to decide its next step over the issue.
Earlier, Beni Prasad had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, following which the statement came from him regretting his statement. He was accompanied by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath while making the statement.
This came after there was more hungama in Parliament as SP MPs thronged the well of the House demanding the resignation of Beni Prasad Verma for his alleged disparaging remarks against Mulayam Singh. Beni Prasad Verma himself had denied making any such statement where he said that Mulayam had received commission to back the UPA. The SP, which is an ally of the UPA, stepped up the demand for his expulsion from the Cabinet.
On Monday, Verma had accused Mulayam of supporting terrorism. Speaking in Parliament on Monday, Beni Prasad had said that after Godhra riots, the SP fought the Gujarat polls along with BJP and helped Modi come to power.
"After the Godhra riots, the Samajwadi Party fought the election in Gujarat and helped Modi win. Terror has no religion but I can say confidently that Mulayam Singh supported terrorism," Beni Prasad had said.