The UP Labour Minister Waqar Ahmad Shah and Samajwadi Party general secretary and MP Beni Prasad Verma have crossed swords in Bahraich over supremacy in the district.
The tussle between the two SP leaders has assumed serious dimension with Verma accusing Shah of patronising the killers of district panchayat member Ram Bhulan Verma. However Shah has demanded high level probe into the case to expose the rival group.
The battle for one-upmanship in the district has led to the sharp division in the party with three SP MLAs Dilip Kumar Verma, Shabbir Ahmad and Arun Vir Singh joining Beni Verma camp to target Shah. Beni Verma has accused the Bahraich police of failing to protect the panchayat member.
Verma told newsmen in Bahraich that "police have got the protection of the minister". Verma said, "There is also threat to the life of Dilip Verma". He has sought protection to him.
Verma said he was forced to speak on the issue because “he has lost patience” over the prevailing situation in Bahraich. Beni Verma said there was no breakthrough in the case because of the slackness of the police. An anti-Shah camp has also accused the district administration of working under the pressure of the minister.
However Shah said rival faction had been creating trouble for him. Talking to Hindustan Times over phone from Bahraich on Sunday Shah demanded "high- level probe into the case”.
The minister refusing to join the issue with Beni Verma said, "I am concerned about the party in the district and the chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav should himself look into the matter".
Shah said “the chief minister has agencies to verify the charges leveled against him”. He said only a “thorough probe would expose the role of all those carrying on campaign against him”. Shah’s wife Rubab Sayeeda is Lok Sabha member from Bahraich.
Meanwhile reacting to Verma’s charges against the police Apna Dal, a political party representing Kurmis, said that his statement demonstrated his helplessness in the SP.
Apna Dal spokesman RB Singh Patel said, Verma "claims himself to be super CM" but the district police were not listening to him.
Email Masoodul Hasan: mhasan @hindustantimes.com