NEW DELHI: Dinesh Trivedi is unlikely to continue as Railway Minister. The Congress core committee is expected to take a call on the date and timing of his exit after Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee presents the general budget 2012-13 on Friday.
According to sources, the Congress core committee is likely to meet on Friday evening and take a final decision on Trivedi. TMC chief and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee refused to allow her party colleague, Trivedi, continue as Railway Minister beyond April 16. “He may either resign after the presentation of the Budget or on Saturday,’’ a senior Congress source said.
On Thursday evening, the Congress had asked for time till March 30, end of the first half of the Budget session, so that the Minister is not changed mid-stream. But Mamata refused to grant them that face-saver.
However, she seems to have relented a bit on the fare hike. The West Bengal CM told her party MLAs, 185 of whom supported her decision to get Trivedi sacked from the Union Cabinet, that she was not against raising of fares of Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains, mostly used by the upper-end travelers.
The Union government is yet to take a call on whether to agree to a partial roll back of the railway fare or elevate Mamata’s new nominee, Mukul Roy, to the Railway Ministry. Roy is currently a Minister of State.
Earlier in the day, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said, “As of today, Dinesh Trivedi is our Railway Minister. He replied to the question on the Railways in the House today.’’ Just back from Akhilesh Yadav’s swearing-in ceremony in Lucknow, Bansal sounded a bit more relaxed than expected of a Parliamentary Affairs Minister in the midst of a crisis. Significantly Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, sent Bansal along with Motilal Vora to attend the big event of the Samajwadi Party. Bansal is said to have carried a rather effusive letter of congratulations from Sonia to Mulayam Singh. That the SP could replace the TMC as a key UPA partner is not being ruled out.
The Congress core committee met late on Thursday evening at the PM’s residence to discuss the crisis in view of the adverse comments made by Mamata in Kolkata.