New Delhi: Union Minister Beni Prasad Verma on Thursday demanded an "apology" from SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav over his remarks that those living in relief camps in Shamli and Muzaffarnagar are conspirators and compared him to Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.
The Congress leader, who frequently targets friend-turned foe Yadav with acerbic barbs, dubbed the Samajwadi Party chief a "goonda" while alleging that "goondaism has increased whenever Samajwadi Party government is formed in Uttar Pradesh”.
"Yadav should be ashamed over his remarks. The government, which Samajwadi Party is running in Uttar Pradesh, was made with the support of Muslims. He should seek apology from the Muslims living in the camps," he told reporters here.
Alleging that the SP chief is now moving closer to BJP, Verma alleged that Yadav had initially decided to polarise votes by engaging into an agreement with the BJP.
"There is no difference between Narendra Modi and Mulayam Singh Yadav. One is Hitler while the other Mussolini," he said, accusing the SP chief of "conspiring" in the demolition of Babri mosque and fielding candidates in seats with sizeable population of Muslims in Gujarat elections to facilitate Modi`s victory in 2002.
After Rahul Gandhi`s sudden visit to the relief camps, Yadav had on Monday claimed, "There are no riot victims at all in the camps. There is not even one. You can check. These are people who are conspirators. BJP and Congress have conspired. They have asked people to stay there at night and sit in dharnas. This is conspiracy of the people there."
Slamming the SP chief over the remarks, Verma said that Yadav was "undermining" the strength of the Muslims, whose 18 percent votes will decide which party will form government in Uttar Pradesh.
"While children are dying daily in these relief camps, Yadav is organising Saifai Mahotsava and programmes by dancers from foreign countries. He should immediately postpone Saifai Mahotsava. He is making fun while children are dying. The curse of these children will finish him," he said.
He also said that the SP chief "will have to go to jail one day" since the Lokpal bill has been passed and he is "embroiled in many corruption issues".
The SP had opposed the Lokpal Bill in Parliament.
Verma also chose the occasion to express confidence that Rahul Gandhi will become Prime Minister of the country after 2014 Lok Sabha polls and indicated that his name could be declared as Congress` Prime Ministerial candidate in the January 17 AICC meeting here.
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.
Verma, who also addressed his party workers in Gonda through mobile phone here, told them not to lose hope.
"Days of Mulayam Singh Yadav`s government are numbered. Congress will once again form a government at the Centre. Rahul Gandhi will become the Prime Minister.”
"Even in UP when there will be a Congress government in future, we will finish goondaism. Sugarcane farmers and Muslims are a harried lot in UP," Verma said, addressing party workers of Gonda, who were protesting against Samajwadi Party.
Recalling that Muslims had fought the British, he said "children of the Muslims, who courted martyrdom are forced to live in tents on graveyards. Yadav should be ashamed of calling them conspirators.... No other politician could be so cruel."
The Union Minister said that "no big communal riot can happen in any state without a conspiracy by the government of the state there”.
"...It was the planning of Modi`s aide Amit Shah and Mulayam Singh Yadav to polarise votes on Hindu-Muslim lines in UP. Now since he is tottering as Muslims are angry at him, Yadav is gradually moving towards the BJP."
He said that the SP had helped Modi in 2002 assembly elections in Gujarat by fielding candidates in areas with Muslim population to divide the community votes and was hence awarded in 2003, when the BJP ensured that Yadav with 125 SP MLAs becomes Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh after the fall of the BSP government.
"You might have been absolved in the disproportionate assets case, but do not be ecstatic. Lokpal bill has come. You will have to go to jail. There are so many cases and issues against you," the Union Minister said referring to Yadav.
Verma, a member of Parliament from Gonda, also vowed to ensure Yadav`s defeat on his home turf Mainpuri.
About Rahul Gandhi, he said the Congress vice president will hoist the flat from the real Lal Qila on August 15 this year.
Asked whether he has any certain information that Gandhi will be named the Prime Ministerial candidate of Congress soon, he recalled that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said that Gandhi would be ideal for the Prime Minister`s position after the 2014 elections.
"Who is more intelligent than the Prime Minister. An indication is enough for a wise man," he said, adding that he believes that something will be done at the AICC meeting on January 17, which will make things clear to the media.