NEW DELHI: An unprecedented drama has almost derailed the UPA government after the railway budget in Parliament. The suspense over the fate of Union Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi continued on Thursday.
Trivedi maintained that he hadn't quit as yet, and the government also said the same. According to sources, the government has told Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee that Trivedi must not be sacked at least till the budget session.
Meanwhile, the Trinamool Congress is speaking in two voices. Inside Parliament, they say there is no need for Trivedi to resign while outside it, they say Mukul Roy will be the new railway minister.
Here's a look at who stand where on the issue.
Dinesh Trivedi's stand:
While the minister has said that he has not put in his papers yet, he has said that he will tender his resignation the moment Prime Minister Manmohan Singh or Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee asks him to do.
He said, "No one has sought my resignation till now. My job is to get the Budget passed in Parliament. I have a duty to get the Railway Budget passed. This is my prime duty. The moment my honourable leader Mamata Banerjee or the Prime Minister asks me I will resign."
Trivedi said he would also answer questions related to the Railway Budget in Parliament and added that he was grateful to the nation for the support that he had received for his budget. "I am getting messages from all over the world and I am truly touched," said the Railway Minister.
The minister has also said that in case he is asked to present the rail budget again, he will keep it unchanged.
Government stands firm:
According to sources, the Congress has told Mamata that Trivedi must not be sacked at least till the budget session is over. The Prime Minister is also expected to talk to the West Bengal Chief Minister before taking a final call.
Congress leaders pointed out to Mamata that sacking a minister mid session and swearing in another person would not send out a good signal. Sources told CNN-IBN that Congress leaders told Mamata that it would be better if the change of guard is carried out during the three-week break from March 31 to April 23 in the Budget Session.
Congress leaders told Mamata that they understood the pressure on her from her MLAs and MPs to act against Trivedi for announcing the increase in passenger fares in the Railway Budget. Mamata is likely to get back to the Congress after consulting her party leaders.
Trinamool's flip-flop :
The Trinamool Congress had on Wednesday slammed Trivedi immediately after he presented the rail budget, asking him to roll back the passenger fare hike. The Railway Minister had to face stiff opposition from his own party.
While the party maintained the same stand outside Parliament a day after the rail budget, it changed its stand inside it.
On one hand the party said that Mukul Roy would be the new Railway Minister, on the other, it said that there was no need for Trivedi to resign.
Meanwhile, Roy said that he would do as he was directed to by his party chief Mamata Banerjee.
Opposition attacks government :
In Parliament, the Opposition gave the government a torrid time. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) questioned the relevance of the rail budget itself.
Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said that the party wanted to know whether Trivedi was still the Railway Minister.
She said, "We want to know is the minister here or not? Is the railyway budget still valid or not?"
Arun Jaitley, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, termed the whole issue as "a theatre of the absurd".