Despite the trenchant criticism of senior UP Congress leaders, including PCC chief Nirmal Khatri by Union Minister of Steel Beni Prasad Verma, the UPCC has refused to come out with a scathing counter-offensive against Verma on account of his perceived closeness to Rahul Gandhi.
Beni, who is also a member of the CWC, has been openly flaying the state Congress leaders for “selling out the party to its political opponents for over 20 years for the sake of vested interests”.
He was also severe on Khatri for the “inertia” in the state Congress and ridiculed fellow Congress leader Pramod Tewari for getting elected to the Rajya Sabha with the support of the Samajwadi Party.
Besides, Beni lashed out at Congress MP P L Punia, who heads the National Commission for the SC/STs,terming him a “corrupt bureaucrat and an infiltrator”.
Recently, Beni had organised a conference of the Dalits, Muslims and the OBCs. However, the UPCC office-bearers had been left out from the list of invitees.Although there was muted criticism of the minister for running a parallel party unit in UP, no one including the AICC in-charge for UP, Madhusudan Mistry uttered a word against him in public.
The Express has learnt that Beni had sought the blessings and support of Rahul before organising the conference and he had also written a letter to the Congress deputy chief in this regard. He was reportedly the Congress scion’s pointman in the 2012 Assembly polls. Even though, the Congress did not do well in the polls, Beni still remains a favourite with the Congress’ first family. At one point Rahul even wanted to elevate him as UPCC chief, but his political rivals convinced the former that Beni should not be given the key post since he was an “outsider”.
An AICC committee, while describing the causes of the party’s debacle in the 2012 Assembly elections, had nailed down many “motormouths” and Beni was one of them. But Beni did not face any heat from the high command and he continues to target his rivals within the party and outside.
The Union Minister is reported to have briefed the high command on the pathetic state of affairs in the state Congress and is believed to have suggested a revamp. “The SP, BSP and the BJP could be revived in UP in the last 20 years. Why has the Congress failed? It needs introspection and a look at the economic empires of the senior leaders of the party despite remaining in the Opposition for over two decades,” he had alleged.