New Delhi: Amid pressure from the Samajwadi Party and within the Congress, Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma on Wednesday expressed regret over his controversial remarks made against Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Verma, who met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today, denied he had been asked to submit his resignation from the Council of Ministers as speculated in the media.
Sources had said that Verma was asked to quit when he called on the Prime Minister.
The minister said after the meeting that he regrets his remarks made against Mulayam Singh and added he had been misquoted.
“If my remarks have hurt the sentiment of anyone, I regret them,” Verma told reporters. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath was standing alongside when Verma spoke to reporters, indicating he still had the support of the government and the party.
Verma had created a furore by saying that SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav allegedly had "terrorist links".
Congress president Sonia Gandhi also met the PM and the SP chief this morning.
At her meeting with the SP chief, Gandhi disowned Verma’s controversial remarks, saying the same were his personal comments and not party’s views.
Verma was earlier ticked off by the Congress after his comments against the SP chief created a controversy.
Verma had yesterday rubbished reports that he was quitting the Congress.
"Log jhooth bool rahe hein. Hum jeevan bhar Congress mein rehenge. Jo log bool rahe hein unko bolne do (People are lying. I will remain in Congress all my life. Let people say what they want to say," Verma said.
The minister was asked if he was considering quitting the Cabinet or the Congress party in view of the party disapproving his comments against Mulayam.
Verma had not attended the Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) meeting last morning leading to speculation that he might be contemplating quitting Congress and warming up to other parties like BSP ahead of the next Lok Sabha Elections.
Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi had on Monday made the party`s displeasure clear over Verma`s remarks clear by saying it has "taken this issue very seriously”.