The ongoing verbal battle between the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Union Steel minister Beni Prasad Verma hit a new low on Sunday, with senior SP leader Shivpal Yadav practically declaring ‘opium war’ on Verma.
Talking to reporters at the circuit house in Varanasi after a meeting with district officials, Yadav called Verma an opium dealer and a hasish addict. Verma’s hometown Barabanki is a centre of poppy cultivation and opium production.
The district is also known for opium smuggling.
Yadav’s salvo comes on the heels of Verma’s latest attack on the SP. The party would win only four seats in the next Lok Sabha polls which will be its “funeral procession”, Verma had said on Friday.
It was also Verma who had started the row, alleging SP chief Mulyam Singh Yadav had “terrorist links”. He had later expressed regret for his remarks after being ticked off by the Congress leadership.
But while Mulyam has maintained calm following the apology, Yadav — his brother and state PWD minister — lost his cool.
“Charas mila lete hain cigarette mein aur afeem ki taskari bhi karte hain. Nashe ki halat me bolte hai Beni (Verma mixes hashish in his cigarettes and is also involved in the smuggling of drugs.
"He speaks under the influence of drugs),” Yadav said. “Earlier, he used to mix opium in his cigarettes, now he has graduated to hasish.”
Asked about Verma’s prediction of SP winning only four seats in the Lok Sabha polls, Yadav said, “Only time will tell which party gets the maximum votes”.