Faizabad/New Delhi: Union Minister Beni Prasad Verma on Tuesday kicked up another controversy with his barbs at friend-turned-foe Mulayam Singh Yadav, saying that the SP chief was not even fit to sweep the Prime Minister`s residence, drawing instant rebuke from the Congress.
"Yadav wants to become Prime Minister. He should first try to get the job of a sweeper at the residence of the PM," 77-year Verma said at a programme in Uttar Pradesh`s Faizabad.
He prefaced his remark by alleging that the SP was a party based on "lies and fraud" and that it will be finished by the Congress.
Verma was once a close confidant of the Samajwadi Party supremo but was gradually sidelined after Amar Singh came into the picture. The Kurmi leader quit the party in 2007 and joined the Congress before 2009 Lok Sabha elections.
Disapproving of Verma`s remarks, Congress once again ticked him off for his remarks against Yadav saying it was "regrettable and the party totally distances itself from that".
"I do not know whether he has said anything like this, but if he has done so, it is regrettable. Mulayam Singh Yadav is a big leader and has been in politics for a long time. Verma was an old friend of Yadav.
"The party totally distances itself from it. It has nothing to do with it," party spokesman Meem Afzal said in Delhi.
When asked by reporters whether the party would initiate disciplinary action against Verma, who has been making controversial statements against Yadav, Afzal said that Verma is a Union Minister and wondered what action can the party take.
Asked whether it meant that the Prime Minister should act in the matter, he said he was not suggesting that.
Afzal sidestepped a volley of questions on the issue including whether it was time to tell Verma to stop making controversial statements against Yadav, whose party is a key outside supporter of the UPA at the Centre and whether he thinks that the Union Minister was a "habitual offender".
"You know better than us", he said when asked whether the party feels angry, embarrassed or helpless over Verma`s statements.
He said Verma has already been told by the AICC General Secretary Madhusudan Mistry, who is in charge of party affairs in U P, that he should desist from making such remarks.
Asked whether Verma was helping the BSP, arch-detractor of the SP, he merely said that he can`t say anything about it.