Saying Akhilesh was “like my son”, Verma said he was impressed with the CM’s work and that it is the “interference of Mulayam (Singh Yadav)” that is slowing the state government down.
Talking to The Indian Express from Delhi, the Congress leader said, “I give 100 per cent to Akhilesh because he is working with a positive energy and wants to do good. He has turned out to be a transparent chief minister. The only thing that worries me is the interference of his father Mulayam in the day-to-day work of the government.”
Verma said his assessment of Akhilesh was “also emotional” because he is like his son. “He is like my son, so emotionally also I have feelings for him but I have no feelings for his father Mulayam,” he said.
The minister expressed hope that in the days to come, Akhilesh would overcome all problems, “including the interferences”, and start working independently to achieve bigger success. “I am sure that in the days to come, he will learn to manage these,” he said.
Verma’s certificate to the Akhilesh government comes days after the newly appointed state Congress president Nirmal Khatri had told partymen to oppose the wrong policies of the state government and protest wherever they see injustice. He had pointed out that the Congress did not desist from criticising the Trinamool Congress in Bengal event though it was a part of the state government and Trinamool was a UPA ally at the Centre.
Incidentally, Verma was conspicuous by his absence at the ceremony where Khatri took over as party president last Tuesday. All other senior leaders, including Union ministers Salman Khurshid and Shriprakash Jaiswal, were present.
Senior party leaders see Verma’s comment as a “pressure tactic” in view of speculation that he may be downgraded in the anticipated reshuffle in the Union Cabinet. Already, he has lost much of his clout in the party organisation. Verma joined the Beni praises Akhilesh, says Mulayam slowing govt Congress before the 2009 Lok Sabha election, after which he had won the Lok Sabha election from Gonda as Congress candidate. Before that, he had been an associate of Mulayam for long.
During the Assembly election, Verma was projected as the Congress’s OBC face and had a major say in the selection of candidates. He also accompanied Rahul Gandhi at several public meetings. However, the party did badly even in areas which Verma claimed were his strongholds. Despite his best attempts, his son Rakesh Verma lost in Dariyabad constituency in Barabanki district.