Union minister Beni Prasad Verma on Monday accused Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav of conniving with Bharatiya Janata Party leader L K Advani in the run-up to the demolition of Babri Masjid, while debunking a debate on whether he or Narendra Modi would be a better prime ministerial choice.
The fresh accusation by the Congress minister came days after he declared a ceasefire with the Samajwadi Party after making several remarks against Yadav, a key ally of the ruling United Progressive Alliance.
Verma said that Advani started a rath yatra after stating that shilanyas was to be performed at the disputed structure on October 30, 1990.
"The intention was not to perform shilanyas but to demolish the disputed structure in connivance with the then chief minister (Yadav)," he told reporters.
Suggesting that the police firing in Ayodhya in November 1990 -- when Yadav was the chief minister -- was unnecessary, Verma claimed that Yadav later visited the guest house where Advani, Vinay Katiyar and others were under detention.
At the meeting, he claimed, it was decided that karsevaks would be permitted to perform darshan (at the disputed site).
"A debate has started that Modi is bad and Advani is good. It is very unfortunate. Both are guilty of denting the secular character of the country," he said.
"Today, BJP leaders are saying that Advani should become the PM. Advani is no less guilty than Modi with reference to secularism. There is not even a single degree of difference between Advani and Modi. Both are of the same calibre. After October 30 (1990) and December 6 (1992), riots broke out and thousands of people were killed. Advani is guilty of that. And thousands of Muslims were killed in Gujarat, for which Modi is guilty," he said.
In the next Lok Sabha polls, Verma predicted that the Congress would get 45 seats from Uttar Pradesh.
"Whenever polls are held, the Congress will win 45 seats, Bahujan Samaj Party will win 26 seats, BJP will win five and the SP will win four," he said.
When pointed out that earlier he had put the Congress’s tally at 40 seats, he said that he has taken away five seats from the BJP.