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All the fuss about Beni Prasad Verma – will the Congress give him up ?




Sometimes the ordinary citizen is left to wonder as to why politicians behave in a certain way; they can make ridiculous statements and then try to cover up for lost ground. The ‘I have been misquoted’ defense can only be used so far. And sometimes the rain of statements that they make have a hidden meaning behind them; one of the greatest examples of this is Digivijay Singh. Everybody knows that his power and longevity in the Congress party is because he was seen as a sort of mentor to the crown prince Rahul Gandhi (although it reflects badly on the heir apparent about having such an advisor); otherwise for all the statements that he has made and the controversies that he has got into, no General Secretary of a leading party of the country would have survived in the post. In fact, Digvijay Singh is also seen as the way for the Congress to express an opinion that normal spokespersons of the party are unable to state, thus giving the party a chance to play both sides of a discussion. The reason for including Digvijay Singh in this post is just to explain some of the reason that statements are made by a politician. In the current situation, another politician whose utterances are being taken with a great degree of surprise is that of Beni Prasad Verma.
At one point Beni Prasad Verma was a trusted supporter of Mulayam Singh Yadav and a strong leader of the Samajwadi Party. However, it was pretty clear to him that the party was a fiefdom, with Mulayam only ensuring that his family members would be anywhere near the top of the party hierarchy (which was also the reason that Amar Singh was also looking for a way out of the party). However, the absence of Beni Prasad Verma would not have too big a deal of effect on the fortunes of the SP, but, the Congress was looking for leaders to give it some hope in the important state of Uttar Pradesh. So, Beni decided to join the Congress with open arms where he became an influential leader in Uttar Pradesh and eventually became a Cabinet Minister.
So, in the past elections, Beni Prasad Verma tried to project the role of a strong local leader, but that did not lead anywhere eventually and the Congress did not anything great in the last state elections. However, the Congress now had a person calling himself a strong leader in an important state and there was no way in the world that they could afford to lose the little they had in terms of power and influence. But, another important movement is happening, the separation of the allies of the Congress from the party. Over a period of time, the UPA has lost the support of the TMC, and then of the DMK. If you leave aside some small inconsequential parties such as those in Kerala, or Ajit Singh or Laloo Prasad, the Congress is essentially dependent on the 2 parties in Uttar Pradesh, that of Mayawati and Mulayam Singh Yadav (the attempts to get support from the JD(U) of Nitish Kumar is not going to be easy, and may not lead to anything).

The support of Mulayam Singh is not going to be easy, and except for the CBI against him, he knows that he holds the important cards. At such a stage, when a ‘turncoat’ such as Beni Prasad Verma makes strong remarks against Mulayam, things would be rankling the party. And this is also the time when Mulayam himself is blowing hot and cold against the Congress over support, designed to keep it in a confused state. So, there is a lot of confusion over why Beni is making such statements such as accusing Mulayam of supporting terrorists, or fooling Muslims over the Babri Masjid, given that such statements are bound to give Mulayam a handle to protest against the Government. And now it would seem that the SP is asking for Beni to be sacked from the party.
One of the possible reasons for why Beni is making such statements could be because that he sees the Congress as a sinking ship, bound to get humiliated in UP in the next elections, and hence time to leave. Of course, in Uttar Pradesh, if you want to leave the SP and the Congress, it only leaves the BSP (the BJP is still seen as far away in terms of regaining its one time high influence). So it could be that the wily leader is trying to make the best for himself, and with the next elections possibly near in the future, asking for a expulsion from the Congress so that he could move towards the BSP. And with the SP supporting the Congress, it is further decimating the political space that the Congress wants to occupy, making it more unlikely that the Congress with regain any influence in the state.




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