New Delhi: Samajwadi Party sources say the Congress has assured the party that controversial Union minister Beni Prasad Verma - who has been relentless in his public attacks on the SP and its chief Mulayam Yadav - will be dropped from the Union cabinet.
In his latest verbal attack, Mr Verma said that the SP will win "only four seats" in the coming general elections and that there will be a "funeral procession" for the party. He also said, "My goal in life is to make Rahul Gandhi the Prime Minister."
Two weeks ago, the minister triggered a political furore when he accused SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav of having "links with terrorists".
Then, the SP had made its fury clear by disrupting Parliament repeatedly, demanding an apology from the minister and his removal from the Cabinet.
Mr Verma was reprimanded by his party following which he had said, "I am sorry if my remarks have hurt anybody's sentiments."
But soon after, he attacked Mr Yadav and his party again and said, "Those who are serving the interest of their family cannot be termed as socialists."
The UPA government relies heavily on the SP's crucial external support of 22 MPs in the Lok Sabha, especially after the DMK pulled out of the ruling alliance earlier this month. Over the past week, Mr Yadav has made several statements to indicate that he could be rethinking that support. In the recent past, he has also repeatedly told his partymen to be ready for early elections.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh admitted there was the possibility that Samajawadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav might pull the rug from under the UPA government, but also said he was confident his government would complete its full term.
Yesterday, Finance Minister P Chidambaram offered an olive branch to the Yadavs - he praised Akhilesh's governance skills and promised to consider allocating more funds to UP. The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister in return said that his party would not pull support for the central government -- for now -- so that 'communal forces' could be kept at bay.