LUCKNOW (TIP): Union steel minister Beni Prasad Verma on January 9 said there was no threat to the Congress from the Aam Aadmi Party phenomena. Addressing a news conference at his Lucknow residence, Beni said, “All surveys can be managed these days,” referring obliquely to TOI-Ipsos poll. In the survey, conducted across eight major cities, 44% respondents said they will vote for AAP in Lok Sabha elections.
Another 27% said their decision will depend on the candidate. Taking potshots at the Samajwadi Party government, Beni criticised the sheer extravagance at Saifai Mahotsava, especially in the wake of Muzaffarnagar riots. He said, “Children are dying in Muzaffarnagar and the SP leaders are enjoying in Saifai. The government has spent crores from the state coffers, instead of helping relief work. Nothing can be worse.”
Referring to Mulayam as “two-faced,” the minister said it is not surprising that law and order is deteriorating in UP. “When governments are formed with the assistance of hooligans, they must pay back by protecting them. Mulayam may claim he will initiate action against any rouge elements in the party, but he is just being two-faced,” Beni said.
The Union minister had recently described Mulayam as “UP’s Mussolini”. SP has given Lok Sabha ticket to mafia-turnedpolitician Atiq Ahmed from Sultanpur, a move that drew strong criticism from opposition. The party, however, claims that a candidate’s ability to win and not his criminal track record matters during the selection process. Taking a dig at the study tour of UP MLAs, Beni said according to tradition, the foreign delegation must be led by the Speaker. Since Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey pulled out of the 20-day tour, the “study tour” became meaningless, the minister added.