New Delhi: Former Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi, who was forced to quit over raising fares, on Friday
claimed that the Prime Minister would have preferred to retain
him in the Cabinet even if it meant losing Trinamool Congress'
support but he resigned to save government from the trouble.
Trivedi, a TMC MP who was removed from the Railway
Ministry at the behest of party chief Mamata Banerjee for
raising passenger fares in the Rail budget, remained evasive
on joining Congress.
Speaking to a news channel, Trivedi claimed that the Prime Minister would have
never asked him to resign had he not intended to do so.
He said "yes" when asked if the Prime Minister would have
preferred to retain him at the cost of losing Trinamool
Congress' support and the government possibly collapsing.
"It's a fact," he said when asked if people will not get
"flabbergasted" by his comments.
Referring to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's statement in
Parliament that he "regretted" his resignation, Trivedi said
he was "communicated" that the PM would have never asked for
"Let's not get into details," he said when asked if the
communication came from a reliable person. "I am not going to
talk about things at all. If I say something, I stand by it."
Trivedi also dismissed suggestion that he resigned after
getting indications from the PMO and the Congress party and
insisted he stepped down to avoid putting the government into
"There is no way...no indication from any quarter. And the
Congress party would never have asked neither the PM would
have asked...if I had not resigned on that particular evening
(last Sunday), I could have brought uncertainty to government
itself and that is not my job," he said.
He said he tendered his resignation because his party TMC
and its leader Mamata Banerjee had asked him to do so.
To a pointed question if he would join Congress, Trivedi
remained evasive but said "I take life as it comes. Politics
for me is not a career."
Trivedi, who earned the wrath of his party chief Mamata
Banerjee for raising fares, ruled out any provocation he would
have caused to her by suggesting that he had pulled the
Railways out of ICU.
He said his Budget speech was broadly based on vision
2020, formulated by Mamata, which seeks Rs 14 lakh crore for
Railway modernisation, and to achieve this he had raised
"It was not Mamata Banerjee who was responsible for
putting Railways into ICU. It was going on for last many many
years. She gave vision 2020.... I raised freight and passenger
fares," he said.
He also avoided replying to a question on whether the PM,
the Finance Minister or the Congress party were informed that
Mamata was unaware about the fare hike, saying "I don't have
to really answer things which are in the domain of governance.
That are certain things which I am under oath."
Asked why he did not inform about his decision to increase
fares to Mamata even as he had conveyed to bureaucrats close
to her, he said it was "his prerogative".
But he hastened to add, "I don't have to tell you about
the internal affairs of my party. I do things my way".
Asked if he had resorted to a political suicide by raising
the fares, Trivedi said he took the step in the larger
interest of the country and the railways. "As far as people
are concerned, they know what I have done."
First Published: Friday, March 23, 2012, 17:32