Home / Politics / Policy /  Lok Sabha stalled over Beni Prasad’s remark

New Delhi: As political parties raise the competitive pitch in the electorally crucial state of Uttar Pradesh ahead of national polls next year, the tensions are getting echoed in Parliament. Union steel minister Beni Prasad Verma’s outburst against Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Mulayam Singh Yadav at a public rally in Uttar Pradesh provoked it to stall the proceedings of the Lok Sabha demanding the resignation of the minister.

The ruling Congress party, which depends heavily on the SP’s outside support for the smooth functioning of the house and the stability of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government that it leads, reprimanded Verma. A close associate of Yadav before joining Congress, the Union minister refused to apologise for his remarks that linked Yadav to “terrorists".

While Congress general secretary Janardhan Dwivedi warned that “leaders must observe restraint in use of their language", parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath expressed his regrets in the Lok Sabha.

However, agitated SP members, who rushed to the centre of the House, forcing proceedings to be adjourned thrice on Monday, said Verma should be dismissed from the cabinet.

When SP leader Shailendra Kumar raised the matter on the steel minister’s alleged statement that all Muslims are terrorists, the minister tried to clarify this but failed.

Verma said 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." He further added: “For me, terrorism has no religion, no colour. The demolition of the Babri Masjid and the post-Godhra riots are also terrorist incidents, he said.

“But he (Yadav) joined hands with those who demolished Babri Masjid, like Kalyan Singh. His party also helped BJP to win in Gujarat," he said.

Nath’s attempt to arrange a truce between the two outside the house also did not yield any result.

“If I am a terrorist, arrest me and put me in jail," Yadav told the Lok Sabha. “Otherwise, sack the minister."

The UPA government has a heavy legislative agenda before Parliament goes for a month-long break on Friday. It is hoping to introduce the food security bill and the anti-rape law that seeks to ensure the security of women before 22 March.

Earlier in the day, the government introduced the Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIIT) Bill, 2013, in the Lok Sabha, aimed at establishing 20 such institutions in partnership with the private sector. Once approved by Parliament, the law will give IIITs, including the four existing ones, the status of institutes of national importance on par with Indian Institutes of Technology and Indian Institutes of Management.

Mint’s Prashant Nanda and PTI contributed to this story.

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