The Samajwadi Party may not always be giving it back verbally to the Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma on his adverse remarks against its top leadership,but its government in Uttar Pradesh has devised a novel way to treat the Gonda MP.
The Akhilesh Yadav-led government has never accorded the status of state guest to Verma on his visits to the Uttar Pradesh - a honour that has eluded only one other Union minister - Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh.
All the other Congress Minister from UP were treated as state guests by the SP government on their visits to the state,as per the information provided by the CMs office. The information was procured through RTI from the Chief Minister offices Protocol Department for the Akhilesh Yadav governments 17-month tenure between March 2012 and August 2013.
The name of Verma,who had earlier said that SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav was not fit for even sweeping the Prime Ministers residence,is missing from the list. Verma had recently also claimed that Mulayam could get him killed as he was the only Congress leader speaking against the SP chief. Earlier,Verma had claimed that some Congress leaders worked as SPs B-team.
Interestingly,Barabanki MP and chairman of National Commission for Scheduled Castes,P L Punia,who has remained daggers drawn with Verma,has been declared the state guest 47 times on his visits to UP.
As per the UP State Guest Rules,2011,the Union ministers will be considered state guests on their arrival in the state for government work. However,the state government has the discretion to declare any distinguished person as state guest on their arrival for government or non-government work.
Union Minister of State (MoS) for Home Affairs R P N Singh was accorded the status of state guest 14 times while junior Human Resource Development minister Jitin Prasada and junior Rural Development minister Pradeep Jain were accorded the honour 24 and 27 times respectively.
The SP government extended the honour to External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal twice and once respectively.
The only other Union minister not granted state guest status is RLD chief Ajit Singh,who has remained a long-time rival of Mulayam.
Among the chief ministers of other states,Shivraj Singh Chouhan (Madhya Pradesh) and Vijay Bahuguna (Uttarakhand) were treated as state guests five and four times respectively. Nitish Kumar (Bihar),Ashok Gehlot (Rajasthan) and Virbhadra Singh (Himachal Pradesh) were also accorded the honour during their visits to the state.
SP general secretary and Rajya Sabha member Ram Gopal Yadav was given the state guest status on his visit to the state in May 2012. Former Rajya Sabha member Mohan Singh who died last month,was also the state guest when he visited the state in May.
Others who have been given the status of state guest are HCL chairman Shiv Nadar,Aditya Birla Group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla,actor Shabana Azmi,lyricist Javed Akhtar,Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid Syed Ahmed Bukhari and spiritual gurus Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Swami Awadheshanand Giri.