Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma on Friday said the Congress would return to power in next year’s Lok Sabha elections.
“Next year, the ministry would be investing more than `10,000 crore in various districts of the state (UP) to accelerate development and to ensure jobs to thousands of local youth,” he said. According to Beni, two power projects of 500 mw each were in the process of being set up at Jagdishpur and Gonda respectively.
Jagdishpur comes in Amethi constituency, represented by Rahul Gandhi in the LS, while Gonda is Beni’s home constituency from where he is expected to seek re-election in next year’s general elections. Besides, the minister revealed that a wheel manufacturing factory and steel processing plants would come up in various parts of the state.
On the possibility of a “Rahul versus Narendra Modi” scenario in the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls, Beni, who is regarded as a member of the Congress scion’s inner circle, said Modi was just a regional leader whereas Rahul had national stature.
“Rahul has appeal among all the castes and communities, while Modi is a leader of a small faction. Modi is communal while Rahul is secular. Rahul wants to protect unity in diversity, while Modi wants to annihilate the Muslims which cannot be tolerated,“ he pointed out.
“I reiterate that Rahul is the Prime Ministerial candidate of the Congress and he would become the country’s Prime Minister after the 2014 elections,” he added.
Regarding the culture of dynasty politics in the Congress, Beni said, “ The dynasty culture is in the Samajwadi Party (SP) and not the Congress. No member of the Nehru-Gandhi family has occupied office since 1989 despite it (the Congress) having been in power for a considerable time.” Instead, he said the dynasty politics was prevalent in the Mulayam Singh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party.
According to the minister, even the BJP leaders had come out against Modi’s projection as the party’s Prime Ministerial candidate and the internal wranglings within the Opposition party had come to the fore.
Interestingly, Beni reiterated that the Congress would return to power at the Centre after defeating the BJP.
However, he conceded that that the Congress had made a few tactical errors in the Assembly elections held last year. But the party would see to it that the same mistakes would not be repeated in the 2014 elections.
On the performance of the Akhilesh Yadav-led SP Government in UP, the former socialist leader said,” he would rather not comment. But Mulayam is not allowing Akhilesh to function freely and is creating hurdles for him.”
Asked about the availability of land for setting up the Steel Ministry projects in the state, Beni said, “ there were no hurdles created by the SP Government. Rather it is cooperative in this regard.”