In the spring of 2012, the writing on the wall was clear. The then Union Railway Minister and Trinamool Congress leader Dinesh Trivedi, despite delivering a budget that was touted as visionary by many had not been able to strike a chord with TMC chief Mamata Banerjee, who called the policies anti-poor. Trivedi had to quit as the Railway Minister, a position he had held close to his heart.
Nine years later, the differences between Trivedi and Banerjee has resulted in the former quitting from Rajya Sabha months ahead of crucial West Bengal assembly elections. He announced his resignation on Friday in the Upper House while participating in the debate on Union Budget 2021 as he felt “suffocated”.
Back then, the political drama had begun minutes after the then Railway Minister Trivedi, hiked passenger fares in his budget reportedly without Mamata Banerjee’s consent. Within a week, Banerjee had reached Delhi to preside over a meeting of the Trinamool parliamentary party where the decision to pull out Trivedi from the ministerial position was taken.
“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,” Trivedi had said in March 2012.
Mamata Banerjee had later revealed that she had asked the then prime minister Manmohan Singh to remove her party nominee Dinesh Trivedi from the post of Railway Minister. “Yes, I have written to the Prime Minister seeking his replacement with Mukul Roy, another union minister,” Banerjee had said then.
The Trinamool Congress, which had been toeing a populist line on issues like petrol price hike, asked him to rollback the increase and put him on notice that it would suggest another name to the Prime Minister as his replacement in the Railway Ministry.
The party had also threatened to move cut motions on the issue and had decided to meet the Prime Minister to press for rollback.