Beni issue: Mulayam goes soft on UPA

Mulayam Singh Yadav indicated that he was not angry over the issue of Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma’s controversial remarks against him.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: In a relief for the beleaguered UPA government, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on Thursday indicated that he was not “angry” over the issue of Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma’s controversial remarks against him.

Sources said Mulayam indicated at the SP’s parliamentary party, held this morning, that there was no threat to the UPA government from the SP.

“Do I look angry?” Mulayam is reported to have asked at the meeting held to discuss the Beni Verma issue.

He further said a decision on the matter will be taken at the right time, adding Congress chief Sonia Gandhi has already expressed regret on the matter.

The meeting came a day after Verma denied that he had accused the Samajwadi Party chief of taking commissions for supporting the Congress-led UPA government and expressed “regret” after he met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Verma, a former Samajwadi Party leader, had also accused party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav of having links with terrorists at a public rally on Sunday.

A miffed Samajwadi Party had demanded Verma’s resignation. The demand was supported by the principal opposition party, Bharatiya Janata Party, who said the steel minister should resign immediately.

The controversy has gained significance in view of the DMK pulling out of the UPA government. Mulayam, whose support to the UPA government has now become crucial, yesterday appeared to be striking a hard bargain with the ruling Congress.

Though the Congress Wednesday said the "ego war" between Verma and Mulayam was almost over with the steel minister expressing regret over his remarks, the SP chief refused to say the issue had been resolved.

The SP chief, known to be a tough bargainer, had also met NCP chief and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar as part of his plans to forge a coalition of regional parties in the event of a fragmented Lok Sabha after the 2014 General Election results.

The SP, with 22 members in the Lok Sabha, is crucial for the survival of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, especially after the DMK, which has 18 MPs, quit on Tuesday over the issue of Sri Lankan Tamils.

The government however claimed it had the support of 278 Lok Sabha members out of the 543.

(With IANS inputs)

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