Barabanki (UP): Factionalism in Congress came
to the fore on Wednesday with Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma
terming party MP from Barabanki P L Punia as an "outsider"
though the party down played it and termed it as media
"Punia has come from Punjab... all the people here are
our people and we are winning all the six seats," Verma told
newspersons here to questions on dissent in the party,
especially in Barabanki, which is his home district.
The party general secretary Digvijay Singh, however,
down-played the statement saying that there is no factionalism
in the party.
"What Beni said is that Punia is from Punjab and after
his selection in the IAS he has spent his life in
UP...everyone has come from somewhere," he said citing his
personal example that his forefathers had come from Rajasthan
and settled in Madhya Pradesh.
"Punia contested the 2007 Assembly elections here and in
2009 won the Lok Sabha seat by one and a half lakh
votes...media persons try to cause dissent," Singh said.
Punia, however, said that Beni is a senior leader and
everyone respects him. "There is no question of being angry...
such things are laughable," he said.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla
said that the comment should not be given importance.
"Some differences do take place.... it keeps happening in
BJP all the time," Shukla said.
According to Congress sources, a majority of tickets in
the areas where polling is being held today have been
distributed on Beni`s advice though Punia is also a senior
Beni, who is an MP from Gonda, has been facing continuous
opposition in his parliamentary constituency for ignoring it.