By Nitum Jain:
The latest on the Railway budget fiasco is that Mr. Dinesh Trivedi had to resign from his post to (most probably) pave way for Mukul Roy to the chair of the Railways Minister. After standing resolute by his proposed budget for four days, Trivedi finally ended his defiance and gave in to his party’s- or rather Trinamool’s Chief Mamata Banerjee’s- wishes.
Mamata Banerjee gave a statement to the press of Sunday evening, “Dinesh Trivedi called in. He will resign tonight.”
The now-former Railways Minister affirmed this, “I spoke to Mamata Banerjee a little while back just to get her confirmation. She did tell that it was party’s decision that I must step down. Since the Trinamool Congress was instrumental in making me the Railway Minister, her decision was very clear that it was party’s decision. Like a soldier I must obey the party decision.”
It’s a travesty to see a man, who had honestly worked out a reasonable budget that suggested a moderate hike in passenger fares for the sole purpose to modernise and increase the quality of the railways of the country, being bulldozer-ed by the political aspirations of another. It’s a mockery of governance that a budget structured after due consultation with the finance minister and bearing the stamp of the Prime Minister himself has been used as the sword against Trivedi’s neck and the minister is being penalised for doing the right thing. What’s even worse is that Roy, who made a spectacle of himself a year ago at the Cabinet Meeting when he didn’t have an answer to the PM’s query about his vision for the railways, is deemed to be the successor to the seat. The same Mukul Roy who had also vehemently refused to visit a train crash site in Assam even after being requested to do so by Manmohan Singh himself.
Mamata Banerjee is enjoying her winning streak and as she is currently in conversations with the PM in Delhi, we are yet to see what will happen to the proposed rail budget. Whether the cabinet will approve the budget proposals already laid down by Trivedi or will agree with Didi’s suggestion of a rollback.
As for now we have seen hesitance in appointing Roy and dismissing Trivedi, but the UPA government’s and Congress’s shame will be complete if it genuflects before Mamta Banerjee by agreeing to the rolling back of the fare hike. The picture that this puts forward is that of a bully who is taking undue advantage of the fear she has learned to instil in all and sundry. The United Progressive Alliance needs to show its mettle and take a stand that it thinks is pro-nation and not for one individual. The current events can hardly be tagged coalition politics; right now it seems more like political suicide for the ruling party.