Even as the controversy over the meeting of journalist Ved Pratap Vaidik with 26/11 terror mastermind Hafiz Saeed stalled the Parliament Tuesday, former Union minister Beni Prasad Verma alleged that in 1990, the journalist had acted as a “mediator” between BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani and then Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav when Babri Masjid movement was being given shape.
Mulayam was then heading the Janata Dal government in the state (1989-1991) and Beni Prasad Verma was a cabinet minister in the state government. “I do not exactly know if he (Vaidik) has RSS links, but during Babri Masjid movement in 1990, Vaidik used to come to Mulayam as an emissary of Advani. He was close to both Mulayam and Advani and used to sit for long with the chief minister to mediate talks between the two when the movement was being given shape,” Beni said.
In the past, Beni, a senior Congress leader now, on several occasions has alleged that Advani and Mulayam were hand-in-glove in preparing the plot for Babari Masjid’s demolition to suit their needs. Asked on what ground he was making the allegations, Beni told The Indian Express: “I just know it. I was part of the government then.”
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Beni’s statement came few hours after Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi alleged that Vaidik had RSS links. Beni also raised question over the role played by the Indian Embassy in Pakistan in arranging the Vaidik-Hafiz meet. “How come he left the delegation and went on to meet Hafiz without the knowledge of the Embassy?” asked Beni.
He further said, “On foreign land, no one can take such step without the knowledge of the Embassy. What exactly were they doing if they did not have the information?” Beni also brushed aside speculations about his joining the Samajwadi Party, and said that there were some shortcomings in the functioning of Congress but he would “keep working hard to bring back the party to life and there was no question of leaving Congress”.
Defending Rahul Gandhi, Beni said, “There was an anti-incumbency wave. Then, a Hindu wave was created by RSS. In that wave planning of every party, be it Congress, SP or BSP, failed. So, why blame a single leader. I feel Rahul Gandhi is a perfect leader.”