Lucknow, March 30 (IANS) The relationship between the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Congress was rocked yet again Saturday as union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma predicted that the SP would not win more than four seats in Lok Sabha polls 2014.
Addressing a gathering of supporters at a “Holi Milan” programme in Balrampur, about 150 km from the state capital, the minister said that the SP “will have its funeral” after the Lok Sabha polls; and it needed just four persons to carry a dead body, Verma said.
Only days ago, Verma had alleged that SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav had links with terrorists, and was extracting commission in lieu of his party’s support to the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the centre.
“The party will win only four seats in the elections, and that too only because you need at least so many people to carry a body,” he told a crowd, which appeared to love every word the minister uttered against a party that, at one time, he was himself a member of.
Verma also predicted that the Congress would win 40 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh, and that the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) would end up with 36 seats, an increase of over 15 seats from its existing 21.
The Kurmi leader also said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would be contained at 10 seats, leaving room for just four seats for the SP, which rules the state.
The union minister seems to have got his arithmetic somewhat amiss — there are 80, not 90 — Lok Sabha seats from Uttar Pradesh.
The statement of the minister comes at a time when ties between the two parties have touched rock bottom, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh acknowledging the possibility of the SP withdrawing support from his government; the SP chief has called Congress a party of liars and cheats.
Reacting to the statement of Beni Prasad Verma, senior SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav however said that he “understood the frustration of Verma as SP candidates had caused the loss of many candidates close to him.”
He also clarified that as far as the SP was concerned, the statements of Beni Prasad Verma were now not being seen as the official stand of Congress.
Despite the “political maturity” displayed by the SP Saturday, there are fears that the peace would not last.