Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi, who has earned his party’s wrath for hiking passenger fares in the Railway Budget, was today asked to quit his post by the party but he insists that Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee should make the demand in writing.
Trinamool Congress chief whip Kalyan Banerjee, who spoke to Mr. Trivedi over telephone, asked him to resign from the Railway Minister’s post and make a gracious exit and not wait to be sacked.
Mr. Banerjee said the minister told him that he wanted the party’s decision to be conveyed in writing by the party chief, who is also the West Bengal Chief Minister.
The Lok Sabha Trinamool chief whip told him that it was not fair on his part to insist on party directive in writing, pointing out that when he became a minister he had not insisted in writing about it from the party leader.
Mr. Banerjee said he told Mr. Trivedi that as a party man he should understand the situation and make the exit graciously when the party does not want him to remain as a minister.
“You took oath as minister because the party wanted you to do so. The party today does not want you to take oath so you should resign,” he said.
Hours after Mr. Trivedi presented his budget containing fare hike, the party was up in arms and demanded a rollback. Mamata Banerjee wrote to the Prime Minister the same night seeking replacement of Mr. Trivedi with another party nominee Mukul Roy, Minister of State for Shipping.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and later Prime Minister Manmohan Singh are believed to have talked to Ms. Banerjee and assured her that Mr. Trivedi will be removed after presentation of the Union Budget on Friday.
Mr. Mukherjee told Parliament on Thursday that Ms.Banerjee’s communication to the Prime Minister was under “active consideration”.