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Beni takes on Rahul Gandhi`s `Primaries` idea, says tickets are not decided through auction

Congress VP Rahul Gandhi`s idea of "Primaries" for Lok Sabha candidates did not find favour with Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma who said "tickets are not decided through auction".

PTI| Updated: Feb 24, 2014, 23:28 PM IST

Lucknow: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi`s idea of holding "Primaries" for choosing candidates for some Lok Sabha seats on Monday did not find favour with Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma who said "tickets are not decided through auction".
"With due respect to Rahul Gandhi, I will say I am not in its favour as tickets are not decided through auction," Verma told reporters here.

He was responding to questions about Gandhi`s idea of holding "Primaries" in 16 Lok Sabha seats in the country.

The Union minister said upcoming polls offer the best opportunity to the Congress for reviving its position in Uttar Pradesh which has 80 Lok Sabha constituencies.

"This is a golden opportunity for the Congress in the past 20 years to revive the party in the state as Muslims are fully prepared to vote for us... It will be foolish if the party does not capitalise on it," he said.

Verma claimed he "has a roadmap" to ensure the party`s victory in around 50 Lok Sabha seats in UP, but added the "Congress is not using my full potential".

On poll surveys predicting poor performance of his party, he said "in 2009, I told Soniaji and Rahulji that we can win 30 seats in UP with proper campaigning and was branded a loud mouth. But, we won 22."

Stressing the Congress is a big party and there are many "madaris" (jugglers) in it, Verma said "sometimes one has to state the truth in lighter vein."

On reports of suspended Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Prada joining the Congress, he said he did not have "accurate information" about it.

The Union minister reiterated his charge that BJP prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi and SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav "are trying to befool the people by holding meetings on the same day to show that the fight is between these two parties and there is no third party".

Both Modi and Yadav will address rallies in the state again on March 2. The same day Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal would also address a party meeting, Verma said, adding "there is no difference between these three".

Verma thanked and congratulated students and teachers of Aligarh Muslim University for "forcing cancellation of Yadav`s visit to the varsity campus".

"They have given a message to the people of the state as well as the country," he said.

"To some extent it is like the reward of my hard work of the past three years... There is a vast difference between what he (Yadav) says and does right from the Babri mosque demolition to post-Godhra and Muzaffarnagar riots," he said.

"Though a little late, the people have now come to know about Yadav," he added.