Beni Prasad Verma is not mad, he acts to a plan

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Bangalore, March 26: Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma despite all the rebuke that he had received from the Congress leadership, targetted Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh yet again after the latter praised senior BJP leader LK Advani, saying the latter had never lied.

Mulayam's words came in reference to Advani's anxiety on the poor law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh. He sought an improvement in her own party's governance in the state, saying Advani is a person who "never lies".

Verma said: "How can a leader, whose party never sticks to the truth, can never lie?"

The minister earned brickbats from both the SP and the Congress for terming Mulayam a "terrorist" a few days ago. Even the Congress chief, Sonia Gandhi, was seen publicly apologising to a fuming Mulayam particularly because Beni's taunting came at a time when the party was battling a crucial battle of survival and the SP had a decisive role to play to ensure that the UPA II did not crumble before time. The incident had caused a huge uproar in the Parliament and even led to its adjournment.

It was not the end either. Verma had also taken a dig at Mulayam after the Supreme Court sent actor Sanjay Dutt to five years of jail in connection to the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts. He said whosoever goes with Mulayam has to go behind the bars one day. The actor served as a general secretary with the SP in the past. The steel minister also snubbed Mulayam, saying the latter was more interested in securing the interest of his family and was no socialist as it is claimed.

Why is Verma angry with Mulayam?

But why is Beni Prasad Verma so agitated with Mulayam Singh? He is outbursts stem from his long-standing bitterness about the SP chief. Verma, an MP from Gonda in UP, shares an caustic relation with Mulayam for a long time now. Is Beni trying to eye a rich harvest in the 2014 polls by reviving his old enmity with Mulayam? Doesn't look entirely out of place.

Verma started his political career under former prime minister and a heavyweight UP leader Chaudhary Charan Singh.

A kurmi, Prasad was a co-founder of the Samajwadi Party in 1992 and served as its general secretary and chief whip of its Legislature Party in the state. But he left the SP to form the Samajwadi Kranti Dal (SKD) before the 2007 assembly elections after serious differences surfaced between him and Mulayam.

It was en end of a relation spreading over three decades. Verma was particularly unhappy with Mulayam's family-oriented politics.

The SKD did not perform well and Verma lost the 2007 election form Faizabad. He joined the Congress just before the 2009 Lok Sabha polls.

Verma is not mad, he acts to a plan

Verma knows very well that the electoral arithmetic in Gonda favours him. The Gonda constituency is a traditional bastion of the Rajput community and every other community has contested against the Rajputs.

In the 2009 elections, Verma was the only OBC candidate in the fray as the SP, BSP and BJP fielded Rajput candidates. He had even coined the slogan 'ek dabayo, teen girayo' (press one button for him and defeat the rest three Rajput candidates) then. He had won finally. In the next polls, the SP is likely to field Kirtivardhan Singh, a Rajput who had won from Gonda in 2004.

Local sources said that Beni Prasad Verma's tirade against Mulayam is a well thought-out plan and not sheer madness. He knows that by stepping up an-anti Mulayam campaign, he has a fair chance of cashing in on the anti-Rajput sentiments despite having done nothing for the development of his constituency.

SP leaders, however, feel that Verma talks trash just to keep himself in the focus so that his electoral fortunes continue to be good. They said Verma is desperate to avenge his defeat in Faizabad and also his son's loss in Barabanki in the last Lok Sabha polls (Verma's son Rakesh Verma had also joined the SKD) and hence is targetting the SP and its chief.

For an urban educated, Verma might be just another motormouth whom the Congress has failed to rein in but his actual appeal is not meant for the that class. Verma's so-called non-sense talks (he said he was happy with the inflation for it would allow farmers to earn more) are actually directed at his rural vote-bank and not the urban elite.

Moreover, the man knows very well that the Congress doesn't have a strong presence in the state and it will finally depend on leaders like him to make a mark in the elections instead of taking any step against him.

Hence, Verma gets the licence to shoot from the mouth with no big worry.

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