New Delhi: Beni Prasad Verma, who has thrived on anti-Congress activism for a greater part of his political career, returns to the Union Council of Ministers after a gap of over a decade.
70-year-old Verma, a prominent Kurmi (backward) leader from Uttar Pradesh, was Union minister for Communications between 1996 and 1998, during the United Front regime. He will be the Minister of State with Independent charge of Steel Ministry. Verma was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1998, 1999 and 2004 from the Kaiserganj constituency. In 2009, he represented Gonda Lok Sabha constituency in UP as a Congress nominee.
A former minister in Uttar Pradesh, Verma had held various portfolios in successive governments. Once considered close to SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, Verma fell apart following differences.
In 2008, Verma announced his intention to contest the general elections on a Congress ticket and won from Gonda in 2009.
During his association with Samajwadi Party, Verma was a powerful general secretary and had opposed the growing influence of Amar Singh in the party.
During his long political innings, Verma has been associated with the Janata Party, Bharatiya Lok Dal and Janata Dal.