Mulayam's one time friend to contest LS polls on Cong ticket

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New Delhi, June 5 (UNI) Rebel Samajwadi Party leader and former Union minister Beni Prasad Verma today announced that he will contest the coming Lok Sabha election on a Congress ticket.

But at the same time, he added that since a case of disqualification against him was pending before the Lok Sabha speaker, he has decided against joing Congress as of now. ''The Congress president (Ms Sonia Gandhi) has agreed to field me from Gonda (east UP) in the Lok Sabha elections...I will organise a rally of Ms Gandhi in my village where a formal anouncement will be made about my joining Congress,'' he said.

Ahead of the 2007 assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Verma had floated Samajwadi Kranti Dal (SKD) and contested from the Ayodhya assembly seat with Congress' backing. But he lost the electoral battle and the SP moved a disqualification petition as Verma is a sitting SP MP from Kaiserganj in Barabanki district.

''Let the issue linger on as I do not want a bypoll,'' he told reporters here.

He blamed SP general secretary Amar Singh for his differences with party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav. ''In fact, today Mr Singh is number one in SP and Mr Yadav has slipped down to the number two position in the very party he had floated,'' Verma alleged.

He said SP and Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) are symbols of corruption in UP. ''Both are trying to beat each other in the race of corruption,'' he added.

To poser on his plans to join Congress despite his open stand against that party for the past 35 years, Verma said ''today Ms Gandhi has the tallest stature among all the political leaders in the country.

He, however, skirted questions on his future relations with Congress if the former and the SP formed an alliance ahead of the LS elections.


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