As union steel minister Beni Prasad Verma chose to ignore his partys advice to exercise restraint and continued his attack on the Samajwadi Party on Saturday,the Congress leadership maintained a studied silence. The party,however,is learnt to be disinclined to oblige the SP which renewed its demand for Vermas dismissal from the union cabinet.
With Verma accusing SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav of cheating Muslims and predicting a funeral for the SP after the 2014 polls,an incensed SP leadership Saturday demanded his resignation. But Congress sources indicated the party is unlikely to take any action against Verma under SP pressure.
They were,however,taken aback by Vermas show of defiance against the party,which has been trying to keep the SP,a crucial UPA ally after DMKs exit,in good humour.
After Vermas earlier allegations that Mulayam had terror links,Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi had publicly disapproved his remarks and said that our leaders should act with restraint while giving public statements.
He has obviously decided not to listen to the Congress partys advice,for whatever reasons. The moot question is why he is defying the party leadership ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. We have been hearing a lot about different possibilities but we have to wait and see, a senior Congress leader told The Sunday Express.
Verma has been denying the possibility of his joining the BSP,even as BSP sources said the party would welcome him into its fold.
Although Vermas tirade against Mulayam is out of sync with the Congress leaderships attempt to humour the SP,his provocative remarks certainly fit the larger script,said to have been drafted by Rahul Gandhi,entailing a no-holds-barred campaign against the Samajwadi Party ahead of the next Lok Sabha elections.
Verma is known to enjoy the trust and confidence of Rahul. Ahead of the cabinet reshuffle last year,perturbed by reports about his ouster,Verma had gone straight to Rahuls residence to verify if he was being removed. Rahul denied the reports and even asked him whether he enjoyed the steel portfolio or wanted something else.
Given such a rapport between Verma and Rahul,not many leaders in the Congress were willing to venture a guess about his real objective or even react to his attack on the SP and its leaders.