New Delhi, March 18 (IANS) Samajwadi Party members Monday demanded the sacking of Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma over his alleged comments that their party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav had "terrorist links".
Both houses of parliament saw disruptions over the issue, with the Lok Sabha being adjourned till 2 p.m. at 12.30 p.m., and then again till 3 p.m. over the issue.
In the lower house, SP members trooped into the well of the house seeking an apology from Verma and his dismissal from the council of ministers over the issue.
The issue was first raised during zero hour by SP member Shailendra Kumar.
Verma clarified that he had not made any such statement, and so there was no question of an apology. "Where is the proof that I have said such a thing? I did not link terrorism to any religion," he said.
SP members, however, remained adamant as Mulayam Singh Yadav himself rose to speak, attacking Verma.
Mulayam Singh said Verma's comments followed a Muslim convention he had addressed in Lucknow, where several Muslim religious leaders spoke about the contribution of the community in the service of the nation.
As SP members continued to raise slogans from the well of the house, Verma said, "For me, terrorism has no religion, no colour. The demolition of Babri Masjid and the post-Godhra riots are also terrorist incidents."
"But he (Mulayam) joined hands with those who demolished Babri Masjid, like Kalyan Singh. His party also helped the BJP win in Gujarat," the minister said.
In the din, Speaker Meira Kumar directed other members to raise their issues, but later adjourned the house till 2 p.m.
As soon as the house re-assembled at 2 p.m., Samajwadi members again rushed to the well, demanding the dismissal of Verma.
In the Rajya Sabha, the issue was raised when it met after the lunch break at 2 p.m..
The upper house was scheduled to take up a debate on the general budget. However, members from the SP demanded that the Congress offer a clarification on the statement of Verma.
"The Congress must clarify that the statement was Beni Prasad Verma's own comment and the party does not endorse it," SP member Naresh Agarwal said.
E.M.S. Natchiappan, who was in the chair, urged the SP members to sit down.
However, the agitated MPs trooped near the chairman's podium, shouting slogans and demanding Verma's resignation.
Amid the din, the upper house was adjourned till 3 p.m. When it met again, it was adjourned for the day after disruptions.
Verma at a rally in Gonda, his constituency in Uttar Pradesh, had alleged that the Samajwadi Party chief had links with terrorists.
"He is a goon and a robber. How will he protect his state? He has links with terrorists," Verma was reported to have said.
Verma is a former leader from the Samajwadi Party.