NEW DELHI: Congress today virtually snubbed Union Minister Beni Prasad Verma making it clear that it will sit in the Opposition in Uttar Pradesh if it does not not get majority.
"Congress will form a government if it gets majority.
It will sit in the Opposition if it does not. The party has not changed its position so far," party general secretary Janardhan Dwivedi told reporters on the eve of counting of votes in U P and four other states.
Dwivedi, who is also AICC Media Department Chairman, sought to silence leaders like Verma who have been giving "individual" views on the issue. Verma created a flutter with his remarks BSP will be a better ally for Congress if it does not not get majority.
"Individuals may have different views but decision is that of the party, which is binding on all. It is also true in the case of Uttar Pradesh", Dwivedi said.
His remarks also came in the wake of party MP P L Punia, a friend-turned-foe of BSP supremo Mayawati, who has vehemently ruled out any post-poll tieup with BSP, dismissing Verma's remarks as "absolutely personal".
Verma is a known detractor of SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, whose close associate he was till a few years back. Punia was the pointsman of Mayawati having been her Principal Secretary when she was Chief Minister earlier.
Union Minister Rajeev Shukla claimed that Congress will play a crucial role in formation of the next government in Uttar Pradesh
"We will cross the bridge when we come to it. The results have not yet come... To talk about the results before they are out is hypothetical. Congress will have a crucial role in government formation (in UP), Shukla told reporters separately.
At the AICC briefing, party spokesperson Renuka Chowdhary refused to go into such specualtion when asked about the post-poll possibilities.
"We had no pre-poll alliance with these parties. We are not yet in the post-poll scenario. Why cross the bridge.....?" was her refrain to a volley of questions on the issue.
Asked whether Verma's opinion is not that of the party said, Chowdhary said "those decisions are taken by party leadership.
Shukla said "those (Verma's remarks) are not party's views. He must have said in his personal capacity."
Punia was more forthright in dismissing Verma's contentions.
"We have fought this Assembly election against the goondaism and corruption of BSP and SP. So, there is absolutely no question of aligning with BSP at all. He (Verma) may have his personal opinion. Congress party is also not subscribing to the views expressed by Verma. These are absolutely his personal views," he said.
A senior party leader, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Congress has already burnt its hands by aligning with these parties in the past and won't like to be looking like a B team of somebody in UP again when it has long-term goals in the state.
Asked about UPCC chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi's statement that that the party would have done better had the leaders spoken a little less, Chowhdary said she is PCC chief and her statement has to be accepted in her official capacity.
There is a view in the party that off-the-cuff remarks being made by the party leaders are not doing any good to Congress.