NEW DELHI, March 15: Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi, whose removal has been demanded by his party leader and TMC boss Mamata Banerjee, on Thursday said he has not resigned as yet.
However, he made it clear that he would resign the moment the Prime Minister or Mamata Banerjee ask him to do.
Trivedi said he has to answer questions in Parliament today and he would be doing that.
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“I will not leave my duty,” he told a news channel when asked about media reports that he has already resigned.
According to sources, Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedisent his resignation letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the wee hours of Thursday. Trivedi offered resignation after his own party, the Trinamool Congress, termed across-the-board passenger fare hikes as a “hostile act”.
Late Wednesday evening, Trinamool leader and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to replace Trivedi with Mukul Roy, a Trinamool MP.
The core committee of the Congress, which met at the PM`s residence late in the night, was of the view that there is little option but to drop Trivedi.
Mamata, in her conversation with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, is learnt to have insisted that Mukul Roy should announce the rollback in passenger fare hike.
Earlier, Singh described the budget as “forwardlooking” and Trivedi defended the fare hikes as something taken in the interest of the railways and the nation even as Banerjee expressed her displeasure saying the episode had damaged her party`s “Maa, Mati, Manush” image.
“We are unhappy with the railway budget. We are against any hike in passenger fares and we will oppose the move. I am assuring you that we will not allow any hike,” she said while addressing a meeting in Nandigram. Trivedi himself had appeared reconciled to losing his ministry, judging by his defiant performance in a string of interviews to television channels. “It is a very big misconception that the railways is run from the Writer`s Building (headquarters of West Bengal government).”
He conceded that he could not continue in the government without Banerjee`s backing. “Mamata Banerjee made me a minister. If she gives the slightest hint, I will resign,” Trivedi said. Trivedi`s performance led to speculation by talking heads on TV channels that his actions had the tacit backing of the Congress leadership and were intended to provoke a showdown with Banerjee.
TMC REBELLION TO WEAKEN THE CENTRE
Trinamool Congress` stand on the rail budget has once again demonstrated the trust deficit within the ruling coalition at the Centre. That the party was determined to complicate matters for the Congress became evident when its leaders said their members would back the Opposition`s motion seeking the deletion of the reference to the National Counter-Terrorism Centre from the President`s address.
The Congress party, which appeared reconciled to this, indicated that it could put up with the embarrassment. The Congress` stand is in stark contrast with the view expressed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday. He had gone to the extent of saying such a move could lead to the unravelling of the government. Trinamool, however, is unlikely to withdraw support from the UPA government in the immediate future, some analysts said.