New Delhi: Samajwadi
Party members disrupted both houses of parliament Monday,
demanding union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma's sacking for
allegedly saying their party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav had
Verma's party Congress also expressed its displeasure over his
In the Lok Sabha, the issue was first raised during zero hour by
SP member Shailendra Kumar and party MPs then trooped towards the
speaker's podium, seeking an apology from Verma and his dismissal
from the council of ministers over the issue.
Verma contended that he had not made any such statement, and so
there was no question of an apology. "Where is the proof that I
have said such a thing? I did not link terrorism to any religion,"
SP members, however, remained adamant as Mulayam Singh rose to
speak and attacked Verma.
Mulayam Singh said Verma's comments followed a Muslim convention
he had addressed in Lucknow, where several Muslim religious
leaders spoke about the contribution of the community in the
service of the nation.
The SP chief said he would continue to fight for the cause of
"How can we forget their contributions in national development as
also in securing our borders? How can he say that Muslims are
terrorists? He should apologise," he said.
As SP members continued to raise slogans, Verma said: "For me,
terrorism has no religion, no colour. The demolition of Babri
Masjid and the post-Godhra riots are also terrorist incidents."
"But he (Mulayam) joined hands with those who demolished Babri
Masjid, like Kalyan Singh. His party also helped BJP to win in
Gujarat," he claimed.
In the din, Speaker Meira Kumar directed other members to raise
their issues, but later adjourned the house till 2 p.m.
As soon as the house re-assembled at 2 p.m., Samajwadi Party
members again rushed towards the speaker's podium, demanding the
dismissal of Verma.
In the Rajya Sabha, the issue was raised when it met after the
lunch break at 2 p.m.
The upper house was scheduled to take up a debate on the general
budget. However, members from the SP demanded that the Congress
offer a clarification on Verma's statement.
"The Congress must clarify that the statement was Beni Prasad
Verma's own comment and the party does not endorse it," SP member
Naresh Agarwal said.
E.M.S. Natchiappan, who was in the chair, urged the SP members to
However, the agitated MPs trooped near the chairman's podium
again, shouting slogans and demanding Verma's resignation.
Amid the din, the upper house was adjourned till 3 p.m. When it
met again, it was adjourned for the day after disruptions.
Verma at a rally in Gonda, his constituency in Uttar Pradesh, had
alleged that the Samajwadi Party chief had links with terrorists.
"He is a goon and a robber. How will he protect his state? He has
links with terrorists," said Verma, a former Samajwadi Party
The Congress sought to control the damage over Verma's reported
"Party has taken the matter seriously...There is dignity of
language. Everyone should keep this in mind," Congress general
secretary Janardan Dwivedi said.
He said Mulayam Singh was the head of the largest party supporting
the government from outside and Verma was a minister in that
Talking to reporters, Mulayam Singh demanded that Verma should be
sacked from the cabinet.
Verma, however, ruled out his resignation and made light of the
demand. "Has he made me the minister?" he asked.