The Samajwadi Party-Beni Prasad Verma war turned bitter on Sunday with SP leader Shivpal Yadav accusing the Union Minister of "smuggling opium" and using "charas".
"You all know and you have also read that Beni Prasad smokes a lot. These days he is smoking a lot...he mixes something in the tobacco. He should undergo treatment for this.
"You have read also that he is into smuggling of opium. He mixes charas in his cigarettes. He is doing both these things. So his mind will be affected," Shivpal Yadav told reporters here.
The fresh salvo came a day after Beni, the Union Steel Minister, said there will be a "funeral procession" for SP after the next Lok Sabha elections predicting it will win only four seats in Uttar Pradesh.
Beni had also accused SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav of cheating Muslims over the Babri Masjid issue. "Mulayam has cheated Muslims...He did not do anything to save Babri Masjid," he told reporters in Lucknow yesterday.
The SP while demanding Beni's removal as the Steel minister from the Union Cabinet over the "funeral procession" comment said he has lost his "mental balance".
Hitting back at Beni, UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav appeared to suggest that it will be Congress which will get no more than four to five seats.
"Parties which struggled to get 5,000-10,000 votes in the Assembly polls in most of the constituencies will be able to win not more than 4-5 seats out of 80 in Lok Sabha elections," Akhilesh had told reporters in Allahabad.
SP General Secretary Ram Gopal Yadav said Beni held a grudge against the party for two successive defeats of his son Rakesh in assembly polls while another party general secretary Ram Asrey Kushwaha said the remark was "unfortunate" and demanded his "immediate removal" from the government.
Beni had recently triggered a storm by alleging Mulayam had "terrorist links" leading to calls for his removal from the Union Ministry. He had later regretted his remarks after being ticked off by the Congress leadership.