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Dinesh Trivedi pays for passenger fare hike, quits as Railway Minister
His Railway Budget was lauded for its visionary steps, but the Trinamool Congress leader became the latest victim of coalition compulsions after digging his heels for five tense days. Trivedi resigned as railway minister on Sunday.
Former Railway Minster Dinesh Trivedi

Former Railway Minster Dinesh Trivedi

The writing was on the wall and Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi completed the formalities on Sunday, resigning from the post he held close to his heart.

The Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader became the latest victim of coalition compulsions after digging his heels for five tense days.

His Railway Budget was lauded for its visionary steps, albeit perceived as anti-poor by his own party, but he had to finally quit because a miffed Mamata Banerjee wanted him to.

PERSPECTIVE:Dinesh Trivedi's bold Railway Budget

The drama began minutes after the railway minister hiked passenger fares in his Budget, apparently without her consent.

Mamata has decided to foist Union minister of state for shipping Mukul Roy into the railway ministry. Roy is the man who famously refused to obey Prime Minister Manmohan Singh when he told him to visit an accident site in Assam when he was the "stand-in minister" for Mamata right after the West Bengal assembly polls.

Sources said Trivedi's formal letter of resignation has been forwarded to the PMO, but the latter has not clarified whether PM Singh has accepted it.

FULL COVERAGE:Railway Budget 2012-13

Trinamool sources said Trivedi spoke to Mamata, telling her how much he respects her and that her wish was his command.

This was in stark contrast to his stance as late as Sunday morning, when he made statements like "the railway ministry is nobody's fief".

"I do not want to stick to the ministry. But I also do not want to run away. The PM has to decide on it (his resignation). There should not be any politics with the ministry. Railway kisi ki jagir nahin hai (the railways is nobody's fiefdom)," he said in the morning.

Mamata, too, refused to budge. She arrived in Delhi late on Sunday night to preside over a meeting of the Trinamool parliamentary party.

Trivedi, in the meantime, was apparently told that Mamata was in Delhi to pull out all her ministers from the UPA government and offer issue-based outside support.

Soon after, Trivedi called Mamata, who he said asked him not to forget the fact that it was the party that made "me the railway minister".

"Her instructions were very clear. It is the party which has decided (his resignation) and like a soldier I must obey party discipline. That is the way I have been trained," he added.

His tame withdrawal was an anti-climax to the stiff defiance he put up over the past five days refusing to quit unless Mamata specifically asked him to do so.

"I have high regard for her. She is a great leader and is very much in her right to have her opinion, and I respect her opinion. I have deep regard for her. This confusion could have been averted had (TMC MP) Sudip Bandopadhyay not spoken in Parliament," he said.

He said Bandopadhyay had stated in the Lok Sabha that the TMC has not asked the railway minister to resign. The political spat got murkier when the party's chief whip in the Lok Sabha, Kalyan Banerjee, asked Trivedi to resign following which the minister had asked Mamata to give the instruction in writing.

"I must thank our party leader, the entire cabinet and Prime Minister Manmohan Singhji for giving me this opportunity," he added.

"I tried my level best to do whatever little I could do and in the interest of the railways and in the interest of the country. I am very happy. I must take this opportunity to thank the Railway Board and my 14 lakh employees of the rail family."

Courtesy: Mail Today
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