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Controversy over Beni's remarks appears to have blown over

Controversy over Benis remarks appears to have blown over

New Delhi: Union Minister Beni Prasad Verma, in the line of fire for his remarks against Mulayam Singh Yadav, seems to have survived the controversy with the government Wednesday saying that "the matter is closed".

"I had expressed regret over the matter the day before yesterday in the House. They (SP) have not raised the issue after that. I met them yesterday and they are satisfied and the matter is closed," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath told reporters here.

Party General Secretary Janardan Dwivedi had on Monday remained non-committal when asked whether Congress will take action against Verma but had made the party's displeasure clear by saying it has "taken this issue very seriously".

A section in Congress believes that Verma could be warming up to other parties like BSP ahead of the next Lok Sabha elections.

Talking to reporters outside Parliament House two days back, Verma had said he stood by his statement that Yadav allegedly had "terrorist links". He had also ruled out stepping down following the SP leader's demand, saying, "Has he made me a Minister?"

Verma had stuck to his guns even as Congress had snubbed him in an apparent bid to mollify SP, which is supporting the government from outside.

"The party is not in agreement with what he (Verma) has said. We do not approve of the statement he has given.

Congress has always said that the partymen should talk seriously. SP is supporting our government from outside," party spokesperson Rashid Alvi had said on Monday.

Verma had also skipped the crucial meeting of Congress Parliamentary addressed by party President Sonia Gandhi yesterday.

The controversy involving a supporting party had come at a time when the government was facing the political challenge in the wake of UPA constituent DMK pulling out of the alliance on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue.

Verma has also said he would continue to remain in the party and was not resigning from the Cabinet. "I will remain in Congress all my life. Let people say what they want to say," Verma said.


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