New Delhi: Congress’ poor showing in the recently concluded Assembly elections appears to have stirred the hornet’s nest over the survival of the UPA government till 2014. Speculation over the matter was triggered by Union Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi, who is a senior leader of the UPA’s largest ally, the Trinamool Congress.
Speaking on Wednesday at a function organised by an English daily, Trivedi said the general elections could happen “sooner rather than later”.
Following the Assembly polls verdict in five states, Trivedi said, the Samajwadi Party and the Trinamool Congress would like to have mid-term polls so that they can improve their tally in Parliament.
“Why only TMC? I feel after yesterday’s results... If I was Samajwadi Party, I would be very happy to have a general election tomorrow so I can increase my tally because I have the momentum. The Trinamool Congress may also be happy to have a mid-term poll now rather than two years later. If there is a perception that there is an anti-Congress feeling (in the country) then, obviously, even BJP would want an election now. So if everybody wants an election, there will be election,” he said.
The TMC leader said it was important for the Congress to understand the “pulse of the people.” “If I am in a situation and a position of a lame duck then I think it may be a good idea to call it a day,” he said.
However, when asked for clarification today Trivedi made a U-turn and said what he stated yesterday was just a political analysis post elections results.
The remarks were not a statement as a politician or of the party, he added.
"This was just a forum. The forum is known as Idea Exchange. I have given my opinion as an individual, not as a
minister or a Trinamool Congress member," Trivedi said.
"As a student of politics, I was analysing the political
situation and it had nothing to do with my party or I as a
part of the UPA government," he said.
On whether he was retracting from his views, he said, "I stand by what I have said but you have to understand that it was an idea exchange programme and not my views as a minister or a TMC member. It should not be taken in any other context."
He also expressed hope that the UPA would complete it full five-year term.
The TMC leader may have clarified but the fact that his party’s parliamentary board would be holding a meet tomorrow hints at something else.
But what, only the time will tell.