The war of words between Union minister Beni Prasad Verma and Samajwadi Party continued on Saturday with the latter slamming the Congress leader for his remarks on the poll prospects of the Mulayam Singh Yadav-led party.
Firing a fresh salvo at Samajwadi Party, Union minister Beni Prasad Verma has said that Mulayam Singh Yadav's party will win only four seats in the Lok Sabha polls and there will be a "funeral procession for the party.
Beni, who recently triggered a storm by stating that Yadav allegedly has "terrorist links", said "Congress will fight all the 80 Lok Sabha seats in UP and will win 40.
"We will not let BJP win more than 10 seats. Behenji (Mayawati) will win 36. And of whom you are talking about (SP) will win four seats and there will be a funeral procession for that party," the Congress leader told reporters in Balrampur.
He was replying to questions on the prospects of various parties in UP in the next Lok Sabha polls.
Beni's remarks come at a time when Yadav has been breathing fire against the government.
Reacting sharply to Verma's remark, Samajwadi Party said Congress would suffer due to such "baseless" statements and demanded his removal from the Union ministry.
Talking about the poll prospects of various parties in UP, Beni had said on Friday that Mulayam Singh Yadav's party will win only four seats in the next Lok Sabha polls and there will be a "funeral procession" for the party.
While SP general secretary and national spokesperson Ram Gopal Yadav said in Lucknow that Verma held a grudge against the party for two successive defeats of his son Rakesh in assembly polls, another party general secretary Ram Asrey Kushwaha said in Lucknow that it was "unfortunate" that a person like him was made a minister and demanded his "immediate removal" from the government.
"Verma is a senior person. He had been associated with SP for a long time. We understand his grudge against the party as his son has lost twice to SP candidates (in assembly polls). We also know he (Verma) lost the assembly poll from Ayodhya and managed only 400 votes," Yadav said.
He said the media should not give importance to Verma's repeated remarks against SP. "He could be important for Congress, not us...what he says should not be taken as Congress' stand," he said.
SP state unit spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary said in Lucknow that Verma will be "nowhere in the next Lok Sabha elections and Congress will have to suffer due to such baseless statement."
He also dubbed Verma as an "ungrateful" person.
Kushwaha said Verma has lost his "mental balance" as according to his calculation, all parties combined would get 90 seats, whereas there are only 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh.
This is not the first time that the Union steel minister has ruffled SP's feathers.
Beni had recently triggered a storm by alleging that the SP supremo had "terrorist links" leading to calls for his removal from the Union ministry.
Verma had angered the SP chief by his comments against him.
Yadav had then demanded his resignation during meetings with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi following which Verma had expressed regret.
However, after a brief lull, Verma had on March 23 launched another tirade against the Samajwadi Party chief, saying those "serving family interest" cannot be termed as socialists.
Yadav had on Friday said he had no plans now to withdraw support to UPA.
"Right now withdrawing support has not been discussed in the party. Now there is no question of SP withdrawing support to the UPA government," he said on Friday.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had on Thursday acknowledged the possibility of SP's withdrawal of support to UPA.
Samjawadi Party with 22 MPs is providing crucial outside support to the government.