Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh's PWD Minister Shivpal Singh Yadav found himself at the centre of controversy on Tuesday after a video showed him saying that his Samajwadi Party (SP) has always been taking the side of terrorists and anti-nationals.
The video is believed to have been shot on Monday when Shivpal, who is brother of Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, spoke to reporters in Etawah, his hometown.
The video shows Shivpal as saying initially that his party was opposed to divisive elements and castigating the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for allegedly trying to foment communal hatred and dividing the society.
But he concludes the sound byte to TV channels by saying that the SP was always with terrorists and anti-nationals. "Sapa hamesha se aatankvadiyon va rashtra drohiyon ki pakshdhar rahi hai," he says.
Shivpal was in news recently for bringing about the SP's merger with Quami Ekta Dal (QED), the party floated by mafia don-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari. The merger was later revoked by the party after stiff opposition to it by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, Shivpal's nephew.
The Bharatiya Janata Psrty's Uttar Pradesh unit lapped up Shivpal's comments which, it said, showed the "real character" of the state's ruling party even if it was a slip of the tongue.
"In the past another minister, Mohammad Azam Khan, has said that don Dawood Ibrahim had sponsored the birthday bash of Mulayam and now Shivpal saying this... There certainly is more than meets the eye," state BJP spokesman Vijay Bahadur Pathak said.
No leader of the SP was ready to comment on the issue.
Shivpal is the SP's in charge of the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections to be held next year.