Mamata knew about rail fare hike, hints Trivedi



New Delhi: Indicating that Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee knew about proposals in the rail budget presented by him, former Railways Minister Dinesh Trivedi on Tuesday said his sacking was a "foregone conclusion" and the fare hike was not the reason behind it.

Without taking any name, he said a bureaucrat close to Banerjee was in the know of things and he had "every reason to believe that my leader (Mamata Banerjee) knew" and said a senior journalist had commented on March 8 itself that Trivedi would be removed from office after the rail budget.

"Without naming anybody, a bureaucrat close to my leader was absolutely in the know of things and he told me that if I don't do this (fare hike), railways will collapse... the reason for which I talked to him was to inform the leader," Trivedi said.

He said he had "no reason to believe that the bureaucrat would not communicate (to Banerjee)".

The former Railways Minister said "very strangely" a senior journalist on the day of Holi on March 8 said Trivedi would not be Railways Minister after the rail budget.

"I have every reason to believe that my sacking has nothing to do with fare hike or budget. It was a foregone conclusion. It doesn't matter whatever budget I would have had presented, I would have been gone," he said.

Trivedi was Railways Minister for eight months but had to go after angering his party supremo Mamata Banerjee by raising the fare in the rail budget.

Mamata had asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to replace Trivedi by her trusted aide Mukul Roy. Trivedi resigned on Sunday and Roy was sworn in as Railway Minister today.

PTI